In the final three minutes, their advice paid off. Dalton drilled a three-ball from the right perimeter that gave the Vikings a 37-36 lead they would not relinquish with 2:52 left.
Patrick Schulte and Mike Brohm added a pair of free-throws in the final two minutes and the host Vikings prevailed for a 41-36 GAC South conference victory a tough Jaguars club on Tuesday night.
Dalton struggled from the floor getting just one two-point bucket to go but his three-ball was money when the Vikings needed it. The Vikings floor leader hit four-three balls and led Howell with a game-high 14 points.
“It was tough. (the refs and Zumwalt West) wasn’t giving me a lot but once I took advantage of what I had, the coaches told me to start believing in my shot so I started shooting the ball,” Dalton said. “Coach Jacob just kept telling us to keep our patience and we got it.”
Howell coach Kurt Jacob regularly counts on Dalton’s floor leadership to keep the Vikings rolling. “Daylan makes a lot of things happen for us for sure,” Jacob said. “He handles ball for us, dsitributes the ball for us, knock down shots and just makes things happen for us.”
Neither team shot well to start, as the officials called fouls tight through the opening two quarters.
Ryan Spears went coast to coast off a steal and scored off an end to end drive, to make it 15-11 late in the first half but Zumwalt West junior guard Marquis Majors drained a 12-foot jumper to keep the the Jaguars down just 15-13 going into the half.
Howell (12-4, 2-0) felt fortunate to be ahead at that point.
“I give Zumwalt West a lot credit defensively, they played hard and we got some looks that didn’t go down and we started pressing a bit,” Howell coach Kurt Jacob said. “They played us real well.”
Both teams turned up the energy defensively and Howell employed full-court man-to-man pressure in the third quarter but neither team could pull away.
Matt Simmons knocked down a shot for a 27-25 Viking lead with just 39 seconds left in the quarter but Majors, responded with a bucket at the other end and it was a 27-27 game heading into the final stanza.
Zumwalt West (9-6, 0-2) had a 36-34 lead with just over three minutes to go.
Then Dalton came down and drilled the big three for the Vikings. Josh White missed a pair of from the from throw-line with 2:08 left and Jake Hampton missed long on a three with 20.7 and the Vikings closed it out thanks to a pair of free-throws from Schulte and Brohm.
“Two good teams duked it out tonight and their shots fell at the end and we just couldn’t on a couple of shots inside and we were forced to foul,” Zumwalt West coach Chad Towers said.
Michael Cessna led the Jaguars with 11 points. White had 9 points and Majors added 7 points.
Thanks to the win, the Vikings who were picked to finish last in the conference, stay in second place just one game behind first place Timberland in the conference standings.
Dalton and his teammates are glad to be in that spot heading into Friday’s conference game at Francis Howell Central.
“It brings us up,” Dalton said .”They said we were going to be last in our conference and we’re 2-0 now in our conference, so it brings us up.”