Updated: January 10, 2014 at 11:26 pm
They don't just storm the court after every win at Air Academy.
Beating rival Cheyenne Mountain warrants that kind of celebration.
"This is way bigger than just a league game," said Air Academy junior David Louthan, whose 15 points led a balanced scoring attack in a 54-39 victory. "This is a huge rivalry. We lost to them twice last year, and winning here means we're a pretty quality team. All the guys played fantastic."
Bobby Davis added 12 points and John Sims had 10 for Air Academy (9-2 overall, 2-0 4A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference), which had lost three of the four games since the rivalry was renewed during the 2011-12 season.
Louthan helped ice the game for the Kadets, hitting five of six free throws in the fourth quarter during a late 9-0 run after the Indians (6-2, 2-1) had drawn to within 43-37 with 2:46 left in the game.
Cheyenne Mountain then went cold, making just one more shot the rest of the way.
"I give all the credit to Air Academy," Indians coach J'on St. Clair said. "They made us shoot a lot from the outside, and we missed a lot of shots. They did a good job controlling the tempo."
Air Academy's zone defense frustrated Cheyenne Mountain into three single-digit-scoring quarters and 26 turnovers. Yet, after an 11-0 run late in the first half, the Indians trailed only 23-22 heading into halftime.
After the Indians tied the game at 23 on a free throw by Ryan Ruppert with 6:57 left in the third quarter, Louthan got the momentum back for Air Academy with a layup, which was later followed by a Devon Tang 3-pointer from the left corner.
Cheyenne Mountain never got closer than four points the rest of the game.
Christian Nehme led the Indians with 14 points, while older brother Ghassan added 12.
"This is definitely a confidence booster for us," Air Academy coach Barry Clark said. "We didn't slip up in the fourth quarter. It was a close game and we started to move the game out in the fourth quarter. That was a great high school experience and a great win against one of the best teams in our league."