CASPER — The Sheridan High School boys basketball team had a Campbell County-infused problem all season. It didn’t matter if the Broncs were hosting the Camels in the friendly confines of Sheridan High School or boasting the No. 1 seed — fresh off a first-round bye — at the regional tournament, they simply couldn’t solve the Campbell County riddle.
The Broncs’ befuddlement of the Camels continued in the state title game Saturday night at the Casper Events Center.
Campbell County logged it’s fourth win over Sheridan on the season, a 71-61 victory, to claim its first state championships since 2014.
“I think we played hard, and we really can’t not say that,” Sheridan’s Tristan Bower said. “Trey (Hladky) is an amazing player. He scored a lot on us, and that killed us. … We just have to keep our heads high. … We had a great season, but this one game kicked our butt a little bit.”
Nearly all of Sheridan’s issues revolved around slowing down Hladky. The Gatorade Player of the Year lived up to his billing and poured in 43 points.
“Trey Hladky did a good job. He was everywhere and we didn’t really do a great job on him,” Sheridan head coach Jeff Martini said. “Our goal was, he’s going to get a lot of points, we just needed to stop the other guys. I thought we did a good job on the other guys, but 43 is a lot of points.”
Hladky made half of his eight 3-pointer attempts and shot 9 of 18 from inside the arc. Sheridan tried to throw numerous defenders at him, but Haldky found a way, whether via the dribble drive or the pull-up jumper, to score plenty.
“I think it was better offense beating good defense,” Bower said. “We had players coming off the bench locking him up, and he just hit some great shots on us, and that kind of killed us.”
Bower scored 14 points but only made 6 of his 16 field goals. Parker Christensen nearly logged a double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Blayne Baker chipped in eight points in his final game as a Bronc.
Sheridan shot 42.3 percent (22 of 52) from the field and made just two 3-pointers.
“Offensively, we had no flow, and we couldn’t make shots,” Martini said.
Campbell County made 45.7 percent (21 of 46) of its field goal attempts and drained 22 free throws.
The Broncs held an 18-13 lead at the end of the first quarter as six players tallied at least one point. Sheridan actually built a nine-point lead on two different occasions as Hladky didn’t score until the final seconds of the opening period.
But Hladky found his stroke quite rapidly in the second stanza. The Campbell County standout outscored the Broncs by himself in the quarter, 15-13, as the Camels took a 38-31 lead into halftime.
A Sam Lecholat bucket trimmed Sheridan’s deficit to four at 44-40 with 2:10 to play in the third period, but the Camels had a answer for every Sheridan run and ended the period on a 5-1 spurt to boast a 50-41 advantage.
Campbell County used a 6-0 run to take a double-digit lead at 64-50 with just 1:56 left. The Broncs came unravelled as Aaron Woodward received a technical foul, and the Camels made five of their final six freebies on their way to the title.
Martini’s taken third and runner-up, respectively, in his first two seasons as the head man. Bower — along with fellow starter Christensen — returns to a team that’s eyeing the next step a year from now.
“From last year to this year, it shows we increased,” Bower said. “As a team and as a city we are moving forward, and hopefully we can come back next year and hopefully win it.”
Sheridan……………..18 13 10 20 — 61
Campbell County….13 25 12 21 — 71
Sheridan — Christensen 19, Bower 14, Baker 8, Lecholat 7, Ross 7, Sessions 2, Wright 2, Woodward 1, Custis 1
Campbell County — T. Hladky 43, Belt 9, Miessler 9, Neary 4, Olsen 3, Bradley 2, L. Hladky 1
Sheridan 45 (Christensen 9); Campbell County 19 (T. Hladky 9, L. Hladky 9)
Sheridan 5 (Wright 5); Campbell County 3 (T. Hladky, L. Hladky, Bradley 1)