Thunder Basin Finishes Off Their Quest for a Title
The Thunder Basin Bolts won their first boys' basketball state championship beating Cheyenne East, 52-42, in the 4A title game Saturday night in Casper.
Three Thunder Basin players finished in double figures led by Deegan Williams, who had 13 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Ethan Cox scored 12 points and McKale Holte added 11. The Bolts went 18 of 22 at the free-throw line, which included 10-of-12 in the fourth quarter to close out the game.
Deegan Williams said they knew what it took to get there, but this time finished it off.
“Us five seniors, we had the maturity, and we had the trust to get it done. Going into halftime up one, we were calm. We knew we were going to get the job done; it’s trust. We’ve been working on that chemistry since second grade, I mean, that’s a big advantage.”
Cheyenne East kept it close for a half. They trailed 11-9 after the first period and 20-19 at halftime. Thunder Basin stretched its lead in the third quarter with 17 points. They led 37-28 at the start of the fourth and were never threatened after that, using the charity stripe to cap the victory.
Head coach Rory Williams pointed to their defense as the reason why they won the championship game.
“They did a good job in their zone, packing it in, and we were able to make enough perimeter shots to kind of get them out of that, and then we kind of held on. We were really good defensively all night long. That’s kind of what our M-O has been all year, and they (this team) bought into it one more time. We didn’t make a lot of shots the first half, but once we started getting some stops, it helped us the second half.”
The Bolts were the favorite all season, and Deegan Williams said it can be a trap.
“Some teams fall into it, where they let it get to their heads. We never let it get to our heads. Being on top for all but one week, we never overlooked that. It’s something, we as a program take pride in that, so doing this with the coaching staff and the teammates, it’s incredible.”
Garet Schlabs paced the Thunderbirds with 17 points. Cheyenne East shot 48.5 percent for the game. They were hurt by ten turnovers that led to 15 points for the Bolts.
Thunder Basin goes 24-3 for this season.
Coach Williams added, “Just proud of them. That’s a lot of pressure all year long. I just love how they handled it, and I’m just so happy for our guys.”
Cheyenne East finished 22-6, with three of those losses to the Bolts.