Braylon Wenger’s game-winning shot at the buzzer Friday.
PHOTOS BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
Dalton’s Quentin Lehman goes up for the block.
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
With sole possession of first place in the WCAL on the line, junior Braylon Wenger stepped up to hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer against visiting Smithville Jan. 28 and propelled Dalton High School’s varsity boys basketball team to a 65-63 victory.
The Dawgs started off strong by building an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. A 25-point third quarter put Smithville closer, but Dalton hung onto the lead. The Dawgs never trailed until the final five minutes of the game when the Smithies started to rally. This is when things started to get interesting. The lead changed hands several times in the final minutes until Smithville commanded a 63-60 advantage with less than 30 seconds in the game. Wenger nailed a triple with 14 seconds left to tie it at 63-all. The Smithies had possession as time ticked away when Wenger nabbed a steal, drove near the lane and put up the game-winning shot at the buzzer.
“Braylon is a good ballplayer and who stepped up when his team needed him the most,” said Dalton’s head coach Kaleb Reed. “A lot of people will talk about how talented of a scorer he is, but I think what makes him such a good basketball player is his intelligence and his ability to understand the game.”
Braylon Wenger finished his superb night with 34 points and two rebounds. His brother Jalen Wenger added 12 points, three rebounds and two assists. Kyrie Gaut had 11 points, six boards and two assists. Quentin Lehman ended with six points, three boards and one assist. Colin Pearson had two points and one assist. Jaden Schlabach grabbed seven rebounds and dished one assist.
“I am very proud of the kids for fighting through all the adversity we faced,” said Reed. “Things were not going our way, but we fought through it and showed our resilience.”
There was no slowing down Braylon Wenger as he collected 29 points and four rebounds the next day against Rittman. Dalton won 66-52.
Gaut ended with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Jalen Wenger totaled 13 points, two boards and three assists. Schlabach recorded five points, eight rebounds and one assist. Quentin Lehman had two points and five boards, while Grayson Lehman grabbed eight rebounds and passed two assists. The Dawgs’ overall record is 12-3 and they are 9-1 against WCAL teams.