Daniel destroys 10th-ranked Walhalla

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

CENTRAL — According to Daniel High School boys’ basketball head coach Ben Touchberry, the ninth-ranked Lions upped their practice intensity following a loss to Pendleton on Jan. 17, leading to instant results in a 40-point win over Crescent a few days later. However, the real test for Daniel was on Jan. 24 against the 10th-ranked Walhalla Razorbacks.

The Lions (15-7, 4-2 Western 3A) passed that test with flying colors with a 74-37 decimation of the Razorbacks at home to move back to the top of the region standings alongside Walhalla and West-Oak.

“The guys are starting to get a little hungry and they’re staying locked in defensively,” Touchberry said.

The Lions’ defensive pressure was readily seen in the result, as they held Walhalla (11-7, 4-2) to their third-lowest scoring output of the season.

“They played great defense, and we really didn’t handle that well,” Walhalla coach Bobby Norizsan said. “They shot well, they defended and they rebounded well — and those are three pretty big things to win in basketball.”

The Daniel defense helped set up things for a big offensive night, with four players scoring in double figures for the Lions. Still, the Lions’ biggest contributor on the court — according to Touchberry — was guard Jaylen Brown-Wallace.

The senior set the table for the Lions offensively with seven assists while flashing highlight plays like a steal and dunk in the fourth quarter.

“Jaylen Brown-Wallace is emerging not just as a leader, but as a vocal leader,” Touchberry said. “He leads in all facets of the game, whether he’s getting in passing lanes, rebounding or distributing. He’s just a very unselfish kid.”

Brown-Wallace’s leadership was on display from the start, as he hit a three-pointer, drew a charge and assisted Ian Williams’ basket to help the Lions jump out to a 21-9 lead in the first quarter.

In the second, Daniel guard Simms Disbrow added 10 points, allowing the Lions to boost their lead to 39-14 at the break. The hits kept coming for Walhalla in the third as Daniel’s Brady Jones matched the Razorbacks’ scoring output for the entire quarter behind a trio of three-pointers.

The Razorbacks finally managed to show some life offensively in the final quarter, but with the Lions making 11 threes on the night, it wasn’t close to enough as Daniel pulled out the win.

While heeding Touchberry’s advice about taking things one game at a time, Brown-Wallace says the Lions know the importance of every game down the stretch.

“We’re in the final half of region,” Brown-Wallace said. “Everything is going toward our goal of winning region.”

The Lions stayed hot with a 35-34 win over West-Oak on Friday night.


Daniel 74, Walhalla 37

WHS 9 5 9 14 — 37

DWD 21 18 14 21 — 74


Daniel (74) — Disbrow 13, Lipsey 13, Jones 12, Anderson 11, Williams 9, Brown-Wallace 6, Smith 5, Carrington 3, Young 2.

Walhalla (39) — Porter 13, Richardson 6, Beesley 5, Williams 4, Hunnicutt 3, Lusk 3, Shepard 3.