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Cheyenne owns 4A state basketball titles

The Cheyenne East girls and Cheyenne Central boys were on a mission to make it back from Casper with a trophy in tow. The Cody girls and Thunder Basin boys didn’t want to let that happen.
Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 2:58 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Teams from across the state descended on Casper this wintery weekend to compete for a 4A state championship. It would certainly make any delayed trip home sweeter to be hauling back a trophy.

Only two teams would be crowned as 4A boys and girls state champions, and two teams from Cheyenne were on a mission to make it them.

The Cheyenne East girls took on the Cody girls for 4A state supremacy in the first championship game Saturday afternoon, and the Lady Thunderbirds came to play.

A first quarter lead of 12-3 for the T-Birds helped get them started, and they kept their foot on the gas. The lead was never pushed.

East senior Ashley Marshall was instrumental in getting that lead with a couple of nice buckets inside, and she finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

Sophomore Boden Liljedahl would not be outdone, and she did not want to come home empty-handed. She finished with 17 points, two rebounds and two assists.

The final score was 52-37 in favor of Cheyenne East, and the East girls brought home their first state title since 2017.

“It’s kind of surreal. We all worked really hard to get here, but it’s just so exciting that it actually happened,” said Ashley Marshall postgame about becoming a state champion.

After the T-Birds brought home state title number one for Cheyenne schools, it was the Cheyenne Central boys’ turn to try and redeem themselves against a familiar foe, Thunder Basin.

The game was tight early with both teams trading blows and baskets, but the Centrals boys led by 2 at halftime.

In the second half, Central really tightened up defensively and limited Thunder Basin to 4 points in the third quarter.

Senior Lawson Lovering had his sixth dunk of the state tournament during the third quarter, which was a follow-up after a Cade Burns missed layup. It really hammered home how much Central meant business in the second half.

A Nathanial Talich 3-pointer from NBA range as the buzzer rang to end the third quarter pushed Central’s lead to 10, and they never looked back.

Talich, a junior, finished with 26 points and six assists to lead the scoring for the Indians. Lovering, in his final game before continuing his career at Colorado-Boulder, finished with 9 points, including a big dunk, and 12 rebounds. Senior Brady Storebo added 11 points, as well.

The final score was 55 to 40, and Central completed its redemption tour.

“It means everything. That’s the main goal,” said Lovering about winning a state title and coming back after getting knocked out by Thunder Basin last season. “That’s the one we want, and it feels amazing to actually get that.”

Central senior Carter Lobatos called it “a dream come true” winning a state championship. “We’ve been thinking about this since we first started basketball, football, or whatever in first, second grade,” said Lobatos. “Just playing together we’re like, ‘We wanna be a state champ someday.’”

It’s Central’s first state championship since 2016, and it marked the first time Cheyenne high schools have won both state titles since East brought home both in 1988.

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