The third time’s the charm in the 3A and 4A boys basketball championship games on Saturday in Casper at the Ford Wyoming Center.

Both games feature the third meeting between the two combatants this season.

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In front of a large crowd on Friday night, the Thunder Basin Bolts got a game-winning layup from Kayden LaFramboise to beat Kelly Walsh, 41-39, in the 4A boys' semifinals.

The go-ahead basket occurred with 4.5 seconds left. Kelly Walsh inbounded the ball and a three-quarter court shot banked by the Trojans’ David DeBoer hit off the glass and rim at the other end as time expired.

Thunder Basin head coach Rory Williams said they were going to either take the last shot or work for a layup depending on how the Trojans played defense.

“They came out in ‘man,’ and we were going to take the last shot or go into overtime. Deegan did a good job drawing the double (team), and L-A did a good job coming with him. Deegan wrapped around a little pass, and L-A did a good job finishing it.”

The biggest lead for either team was five points. The game featured seven lead changes and was tied 12 times.

Deegan Williams had 24 points, seven rebounds, and four assists to lead Thunder Basin back to the 4A championship game. LaFramboise added nine points, which included the game-winner.

Tyler Pacheco scored 15 points and Davis Crilly added ten for Kelly Walsh.

Rory Williams added being back in the title game feels really good.

“That was a goal for these guys, obviously. To win the regional was big, but these guys have been playing for one thing all year. You’ve got to get to that game to win it. It was a good game tonight (Friday), and I’m just happy for them. I’m happy that they get to experience that tomorrow night and experience kind of how state championship games should be. This was a good atmosphere that they didn’t really get last year (due to Covid).”

That was The Bolts’ fourth win over the Trojans this season.

Thunder Basin’s opposition will be Cheyenne East.

The Thunderbirds took care of Sheridan in the second semifinal, 56-44.

East led by as many as 11 in the first half and stretched it to 24 in the second half. The Thunderbirds shot 50 percent in the game and held the Broncs to 28.6 from the field. East also enjoyed a 38-23 edge in rebounding. Kysar Jolley led the way with 19 points and ten rebounds.

Sheridan was led by Alex Sanders with 10 points.

East head coach Rusty Horsley said it starts with their defense.

“We did a great job (on that end). If we turned the ball over, we’d just put our nose down on the ground and just play great defense, and then combined with that, I thought we rebounded extremely well.”

Now they’ll face the Bolts for the third time. Thunder Basin won the first meeting by 27 in Gillette. Last week at the regional tournament was a 14-point victory by the Bolts.

Horsley added I know we’ll play hard the whole game.

“We’ve just got to throw all our cards out on the table, get after it, and see where it lands. In the second game, we kind of cut it down (the margin). I’m just proud of the kids for getting there and giving themselves an opportunity.”

The 4A boys’ championship is the finale of the four title tilts on championship Saturday. It’s slated to start at 8 p.m. at the Ford Wyoming Center.

The Class 3A championship will match rivals, Douglas and Rawlins, for the third time this year.

Douglas won the first meeting in Rawlins, 65-40, on Feb. 4. The Outlaws won the rematch at the 3A East Regional Tournament in Burns last week, 54-53. Rawlins’ Eli Kern made a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Outlaws the victory.

In the semifinals, Douglas rallied past Powell, 59-45.

The Panthers controlled the first half and led 24-18 at the break. An 18-5 third quarter for Douglas was the difference. The Bearcats took the lead for good in that period. They had a 36-29 lead at the end of the third. Douglas scored 23 in the final frame to pull away and get to the big game, like their girls’ team.

Levi Curtis had 16 points to pace Douglas. Cameryn Spence added 15 points, while Jackson Hughes contributed 11 points and eight rebounds. The Bearcats shot 60 percent in the second half.

Gunner Erickson scored 18 and Toran Graham added 11 points.

Rawlins reached the 3A boys’ championship with a 52-47 win over Buffalo in the semifinals on Friday night.

A 19-9 third quarter propelled the Outlaws to the victory.

The Bison had leads of 12-10 after the first quarter and 22-18 at halftime. The last lead change came midway through the third when Rawlins grabbed a 25-24 advantage. The Outlaws held on from there.

Rawlins shot 63 percent from the field in the second half. They made 12-of-19 shots. Eli Kern scored 15 points to lead the Outlaws, while JC Ice added 11 off the bench.

Anthony Johnson and Cam Peters scored 12 and 11, respectively, for Buffalo. They shot 39 percent for the game. The Bison did out-rebound Rawlins, 30-24.

One note for the Outlaws, senior starting guard Erick Martinez was injured late in the game and is questionable for today’s championship game.

The 3A boys’ title contest starts championship Saturday at the Ford Wyoming Center beginning at 3:30 p.m.

PhotoFest! State 4A Basketball Day Two

PhotoFest! State 4A Basketball Day Two

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