Kelly Walsh had all the answers Saturday.
As a result, the Trojans captured their first state title since 1981 with a 62-49 victory over Rock Springs in the Wyoming State High School Class 4A Boys Basketball Championship at the Casper Events Center.
“Our one goal coming into this season was to win a state championship and we didn’t care how we did it,” said Kelly Walsh senior Sam Marsh, who tied for game-high scoring honors with 18 points. “Tonight, we all contributed ... and that’s how we’ve done it all season.”
Rock Springs, which was looking for its first state title since 1976, took a 9-6 lead on Trevor Hautala’s 3-pointer.
But Kelly Walsh got back-to-back triples from senior Cameron Carter and Marsh to spark a 15-0 run, and the Trojans never trailed again.
“I was a little worried about what our mentality would be coming into the game,” Kelly Walsh coach Randy Roden said. “But I give credit to these guys because they came out and buckled down and got the job done.”
The Tigers went on a 7-0 run midway through the second quarter to trim Kelly Walsh’s advantage to 27-22. Once again, however, the Trojans answered as Marsh hit a mid-range jumper and a 3-pointer.
Kelby Kramer hit two free throws to tie the game at 41-all with 3 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter, but Kelly Walsh senior Holden Eckhardt answered with a 3 and Marsh hit a pull-up jumper to give the Trojans the lead for good.
“We just have a hodge-podge of guys who get things done,” Roden said. “We won this state title as a team.”
The Trojans also did it with defense.
Hautala, who entered the game as 4A’s leading scorer, was held to 13 points, with only two of those coming in the second half.
“We won this with defense and effort,” Carter said. “Jaxon (Hiatt) and Manny (N’Tula) did a great job on him, especially in the second half. They made him manipulate to try and get his shot ... he was never able to catch it and shoot it in rhythm.”
Rock Springs made one last push, making it a 54-49 game with 2:12 remaining, but the Trojans scored the final eight points to secure the victory.
“This feels awesome,” Carter said. “It was 36 years in the making, but we did it.”