For the third time in four years, "Chiefs!" reverberated through the Casper Events Center.
Wyoming Indian rallied from a 10-point, third-quarter deficit on Saturday to beat Lovell 68-57 and win its third Wyoming State High School Class 2A Boys Basketball Championship since 2009.
"I'm just overwhelmed right now," Wyoming Indian coach Craig Ferris said. "I can't believe we came out of here with a win."
The Chiefs did, thanks in large part to the play of John Soundingsides.
The senior guard started the rally with a mid-range baseline jumper and then knocked down a 3-pointer with a Lovell defender in his face.
Senior Ron Mitchell added four points on two free throws and a layup to give Wyoming Indian (23-6) the lead for good at 38-37. By the time the period ended, the Chiefs had used a 20-2 run to lead 47-39.
"I think at the first we were so tight, and we were worried about what changes Lovell might throw at us," Ferris said. "We did a better job defending the post in the second half, and then we started to make some shots ... I think that was the difference."
Cody Savage, Lovell's 6-foot-6 junior, battered the Chiefs in the paint early, scoring 11 of his 17 points in the first quarter and helping the Bulldogs to an 11-3 advantage on the offensive glass in the opening half.
So the Chiefs got sophomore post Joseph Howell some help in the form of 6-4 junior Trevor Williamson. The two combined to limit Savage to four second-half points on 1-of-8 shooting.
"We did the same thing at regionals," Williamson said. "I half-fronted him, and then Joseph was there to help me on the back side."
Williamson also got free for two late layups to keep the Wyoming Indian lead at double digits. But it was Soundingsides who continually made the big plays for the Chiefs on both ends of the court.
Playing in his final game for Wyoming Indian, Soundingsides scored a game-high 20 points and had four steals while spending most of the second half guarding Lovell standout Colin May.
May finished with 13 points, but was just 2-of-9 on 3-pointers and committed eight turnovers.
"John told us that he wanted to guard May," Ferris said. "Usually we let one of the other guys guard their best player so John can focus on offense.
"But John really stepped up and shut him down. He made some big shots for us, but he also played some great defense."
Lovell (22-5) led 21-13 after the first eight minutes, but the Chiefs cut the margin to 25-23 on back-to-back baskets from Tyler Penatac. The Bulldogs regained control, however, and led 37-27 with 5 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the third quarter on Ryan Clark's bucket in the paint.
The Bulldogs went cold, though, and the Chiefs got their running game going to seize control.
"We didn't do a very good job of scoring," Lovell coach Brian May said. "Our offense kind of stagnated.
"Then they kind of hit some shots and kind of got on a run, and we just didn't recover."
The state title is the ninth for Wyoming Indian, the most for any Class 2A team.