GREELEY – Fifty-five is a fitting number for a Tiger to get its stripes.

It signifies the last time Cheyenne Wells High School won a basketball state championship.

Until now. With a 55-36 win in the Class 1A boys title game Saturday, the Tigers secured their first basketball crown since 1955.

It was a wire-to-wire victory for Cheyenne Wells over a familiar opponent in McClave.

Jumping out to an 8-0 lead and never looking back, the Cheyenne Wells faithful erupted midway through the fourth quarter after senior Carson Noe stole the ball and traveled coast-to-coast before putting an exclamation mark on the play – and ultimately his high school career – with a slam dunk.

“I didn’t know how close the guy was … and then I thought I jumped from too far away, I was kind of worried. But it all worked out,” Noe said of his championship highlight. “This feels amazing, we’ve worked hard all four years going to every summer camp, every practice, just grinding. Amazing.”

The Tigers erupted to a 19-4 lead after the first quarter, and ultimately carried a 24-12 lead into the half over the Cardinals.

Though pleased with the start, Cheyenne Wells head coach Kendall Pelton – a former Tiger basketball player himself – wanted to make sure the vision and message were crystal clear.

“We talk all the time about how comfortable gets you beat,” Pelton said. “We didn’t want to become comfortable, because in a state championship it’s momentum left and right.

“We really just came out and wanted it. That was the whole thing is to want it more.”

Noe’s dunk, as well as some distance sharp shooting, was complimented by stellar play inside from sophomore Corey Hill, who also elicited a roar from the Tiger crowd when he scored a late bucket and a complimentary free throw in the fourth quarter.

McClave senior Conner Forgue hit a pair of three’s late to cut the deficit back to 11 with just over two minutes left, but Cheyenne Wells continued to hit free throws and make stops to make their lead insurmountable.

It was the third time the two Eastern Colorado squads have faced off this season – with both earning an overtime win in the previous matchups.

“We knew we were going to see them in the state championship, we knew we were the best two teams in the state,” Noe said. “But today we just had more energy.”

Indeed, this time around there was no need for an extra period. After nearly seven decades of waiting, Cheyenne Wells was ready to lift that golden trophy.

“It means everything,” Pelton said. “I don’t know if anything wanted this more than I did, aside from the players. They wanted it bad. It means a lot, and we’ve came up short a lot. It’s been 69 years in the making, so it feels great.”