Nathanial Talich scored 26 points to lead the Cheyenne Central Indians to a 55-40 victory over Thunder Basin in the Class 4A Boys Basketball State Championship game on Saturday night in Casper.

It's the Indians' 26th title in school history and first since 2016.

Talich had a nearly perfect championship game shooting the ball. He went 6-6 from the field and 3-3 from beyond the arc. His lone blemish was an 11-12 effort at the free-throw line. Talich also had seven rebounds and three assists.

Cheyenne Central used a 9-0 run in the third quarter to break open a tie game, and Thunder Basin wasn't able to close the gap the rest of the game.

The Indians led by eight late in the first half, at 23-15. The Bolts rallied with a 10-2 run that tied the game early in the second half. That's when Central rattled off the next nine points and created the separation they needed.

Talich made a 30-foot 3-pointer as the third quarter ended, which made it 37-27. The Indians extended their lead to 16 points in the final frame and won by 15 points.

Brady Storebo added 11 points, while Lawson Lovering contributed nine points and 12 rebounds. Central shot 60 percent from the field. They outrebounded Thunder Basin 29-13 and went 16-19, 84 percent, at the charity stripe.

The Bolts got 18 points from Andre Felton and 17 points from Deegan Williams. Thunder Basin shot 37.5 percent in the game. They were 50 percent in the first half but dropped to 29 percent in the second half. Thunder Basin did score 20 points off of 14 Indian turnovers.

Another key for the Indians was Cade Burns' defense on McKale Holte. The Bolts second-leading scorer at 15.6 per game was held to two points.

For Central, this caps a comeback tour after the Indians were ranked No. 1 most of last season and failed to qualify for the state tournament. They defeated Rock Springs, No. 1 Sheridan, and No. 5 Thunder Basin over the three days of this year's state tournament.

The Indians lose seven seniors, including Lovering, the Storebo twins, Brady and Brock, Burns, and Carter Lobatos.

The Bolts lose just three seniors, including Felton. Five of their top six players return for next year.

*Statistical errors were found in the final box score. That included Talich's final point total and free throw totals. Brock Storebo's free throws were off, as well. These impacted Central's free throw totals and percentage, plus the final score for the Indians. Thunder Basin's free throw totals, percentage, and total points were also incorrect. Ethan Cox officially had only three points on one 3-pointer.

 

LOOK: 15 Discontinued McDonald's Menu Items