Not a train robber or chemist, Dalton Renne looks to lead Braves on the hardwood next winter
History has brought us a number of famous Daltons. There was the Dalton gang of the late 1800s, known for its daring train-robberies. There was John Dalton, the famous English chemist, meteorologist and physicist, revered for his work on modern atomic theory, and the one played in the movie "Roadhouse," who became an iconic cult hero.
But to the town of Banks and its residents who follow sports, the Braves' Dalton Renne is etching his name in local lore.
"He's a well-respected kid and someone the younger kids in our town can look up to," said Banks head varsity basketball coach Marcus Roche. "I can't wait to see what his senior year has in store."
Banks' Dalton is a 6-foot-6 (and growing), somewhat lanky basketball and baseball player who's making a name for himself in and around the Cowapa League. Last season, the senior-to-be was the key component to the Braves' fourth place finish in the OSAA 4A State Basketball tournament, while being named first-team all-Cowapa League and second-team all-state. In addition to his prowess on the court, he's also the ace of a pitching staff that won the Cowapa League baseball championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. But don't let his height and slight build fool you — Renne is a fierce competitor who does the bulk of his work on the perimeter with both his ball-handling and shooting, and usually against smaller, quicker opponents.
"I definitely have a height advantage at the 4A level, but I play against a lot of quick guards" said Renne. "But I use my length and height to my advantage, and I think I have a high basketball IQ, which helps me a lot."
Renne comes from a family of athletes. His father, Greg, was an all-state track athlete at Hillsboro High School, and his mother, Denise, played softball at Glencoe. But while his parents were instrumental in getting him involved with sports, it was his brother Devyn who pushed him on the court.
"My middle brother Devyn really got me going," said Dalton. "We used to play outside and he got me in love with the game and made me want to get better."
Now, it's up to Dalton to push himself — with a little help from Coach Roche. While suspicious at first, Renne appreciates how hard Roche drives him to become the best player and teammate he can be.
"I like Coach Roche a lot," said Renne. "At first he was really quiet, but once he got more comfortable with us he'd really push us and he pushes me even harder because he thinks I can play college basketball. He gets on me more than the other guys, and he talked to me about that. He really tries to get me to be the leader and lead by example."
That's something that doesn't come easily for Renne. He's more on the quiet side by nature, but more and more he's recognizing it's important to talk to his teammates and help them understand the importance of working together. As a senior, they'll look to him for guidance and he understands that he needs to fill that role.
"Last year we had Jake (Evans) to do that," said Renne. "But if we need that push this year and I'm going to have to step up."
In addition to the vocal aspect of it, Renne also leads by example. Roche spoke glowingly about his game, citing his diversity as his greatest strength. He's a strong defender, blocks shots, and understands that on nights when his shot isn't falling it's important to contribute in other ways. Yet in spite of that diversity, Roche understands that as the leader it's important that he can count on Renne to be there when he and the team needs him most.
"He really pushed us through some big games last year," Roche said. "When we needed him to take over a game, he often did."
Like in last season's quarterfinal game versus Tillamook, when the Braves trailed the underdog Cheesemakers by nine points with less than two minutes remaining. Renne put the team on his back, forcing a tie before a Tillamook basket in the final seconds that sent the Braves to the consolation bracket, where they won out and finished fourth — something that, while impressive, didn't sit well with Renne.
"I've watched the film a couple times and it just bugs me every day," a pained Renne said. "We beat them three times before that and when it mattered most, we lost."
The sting of that loss is part of what motivates Renne going forward. He works tirelessly on improving and adding things to his game, and habitually watches film to better understand why things went the way they did during games and what he could've done to alter the outcome.
"He loves the game of basketball is always looking for ways to improve," said Roche. "He is very focused on getting better and I've seen great strides of improvement in every off-season he has had in his high school career."
Renne hopes that hard work will lead to a league title in the upcoming season and a run in the state tournament. He also hopes some time in the weight room, along with a little work on his foot speed will give him a better opportunity to play beyond high school.
"I always set high standards for myself and if I think if I get a little stronger and quicker I could play in college," he said.
And if not?
"I'd like to do something in sports," said Renne. "Broadcasting or maybe even coaching. I like working with kids."
Either way, Banks won't forget him anytime soon.