CASPER — Over its last two matchups with Campbell County, Cheyenne East’s boys basketball team won by an average of just three points. In its matchup with the Camels in the Class 4A regional tournament, East needed a late 3-pointer from senior Garet Schlabs to seal the victory.
When the two teams met once again in the semifinals of the Class 4A state tournament, East left no doubt. The Thunderbirds trailed for all of 45 seconds in the contest and cruised to a 69-39 win to advance to the state title game.
“We shot the ball extremely well,” East coach Rusty Horsley said. “I thought we were more intelligent on offense, and I thought we played really good defense to where we could get out and execute to where we could run the floor and get easy buckets.”
Campbell County’s Mason Drube sank a 3-point shot from the wing to open the scoring in the game. The Camels went on to miss 14 of their next 15 shots from the field, allowing East to build a lead.
But it did not start off that way. While East went on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes of the contest, it still struggled to take advantage of the opportunities Campbell County was affording it.
With two minutes and 34 seconds left in the opening frame, Seth Peterson ended Campbell County’s scoring drought to cut East lead to 10-5. Immediately after Peterson’s shot went in, junior guard Drew Jackson knocked down a 3-pointer to give East an eight-point lead.
From that point on, East never looked back.
Jackson’s shot sparked an 11-0 run to close out the quarter, capped off by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Brenden Bohlmann.
“We knew it would be a tough game, and we just told our kids that basketball is a game of runs,” Horsley said. “I was really happy with the way our kids responded and moved the ball and got a great shot out of it. Drew was able to knock it down, and we rolled after that.”
East struggled to shoot early in the second quarter, notching just three points in the opening three-and-a-half minutes of the contest. But late in the quarter, Bohlmann sank his third 3-pointer of the half to give East an 18-point lead. Kysar Jolley followed it up on the next possession with an emphatic dunk to give East a 21-point lead — its largest of the half.
The T-Birds continued to rain down shots on Campbell County, and opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 41-16 lead. The run squashed any hopes of a big second-half comeback, and East went on to outscore Campbell County 21-7 in the frame.
Midway through the final frame, East had built up a 61-25 lead — its largest of the game. East’s starters exited the game shortly after, and helped preserve East’s lead.
“We just played better as a team,” Bohlmann said. “We played great defense on them, limited their points and went right at their necks.”
East dominated both ends of the court throughout the course of the game. The T-Birds finished the game shooting 26-for-52 from the field and 9-for-17 from deep. More importantly, they held Campbell County to 28% shooting, including just 4-for-31 from deep.
“We had a lot of kids step up tonight,” Horsley said. “When they all step up like that, we are really tough (to beat).”
Bohlmann came into Friday’s game averaging 2.2 points per game. With one shot late in the first quarter, he eclipsed that season average. The junior went on to score a game-high 17 points off the bench for the T-Birds, and missed just one shot in the first three quarters. He also recorded a team-high three steals and played the fourth-most minutes of anyone on the team (22 minutes, 39 seconds).
“I just came in hot,” Bohlmann said. “I just kept shooting and just felt good. The team just encourages me, and I just went out there and shot today. They just went in.”