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You need a guy

Eastland's boys basketball team has got lots of 'em. But I think the Cougars have THE guy for the clutch moments to come.

Eastland junior Dalton Shaner handles the ball along the perimeter during a 62-41 victory over Erie Wednesday night. Did you know Dalton is a Heimerman family name? That aside, I feel in tune with this young man. I believe he's about to lead his Cougars to great heights.

I haven't felt like this in a long time.

OK. A little glimpse into the sports corral. We like to give each other the business when we pay an inordinate amount of attention to an athlete. See: Brian Weidman interviewing Newman's Stephen Adamecz like five times over four wrestling meets last season.

We all accused Brian of having a crush on Stephen.

I'm married. Twins on the way. Straight as an arrow, thanks so very much.

But hot diggity dang, if I don't love watching Dalton Shaner play basketball.

I gravitate toward flamboyant (would you stop it already?) ballplayers. On agate row (entry-level department) at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we called what Shaner does "showing it."

Before the ball falls through the cylinder, he holds his hand up a few extra seconds. He stomps triumphantly. He pounds his chest.

Dude is confident. I dig that.

The last time I saw something like this, I won an Wisconsin Newspaper Association award for my column describing how Brett Stangel dismantled Seymour in the state semifinal. Stangel smiled meniacally as he scored a division-record 33 points.

Shaner is capable of that sort of thing. Pure shot. Cat-like quick, as the aforementioned Brian put it. Senor Weidman also spent almost the entire game saying, "SHANE-r.," a la 670 The Score personality Dan Bernstein. Funny the first dozen times. But, for anyone who's guarding Shaner, his cocky bravado might be funny once. Might, is the operable word.

What makes Eastland so stinkin' tough is that Shaner doesn't need to be the guy. There are lots of capable mouths to feed in that offense.

But, when the chips are down, championship teams need a guy like Shaner - a guy who wants that shot, in that moment. A guy who's driven.

I haven't seen anyone that driven - at least on the hardwood - since I've gotten here. Anyone care to differ? I'll hang up and listen to your response.

- Email assistant sports editor Christopher Heimerman at cheimerman@saukvalley.com. Follow @CHeimerman_SVM on Twitter


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