By Gina Smith
February 17, 2011

With the spotlight on Lincoln County High School basketball star Dantley Walker, many are also catching a glimpse of a community that strives to create an ideal environment for its youth.

Dantley Walker drives to the hoop as teammate Ryan Rippetoe looks on. -- Photo by Gina Smith

Multiple stories on Walker’s record-breaking accomplishments have been published, including articles in the Deseret News and Las Vegas Review Journal, with one reporter tagging him as the “Jimmer Fredette of Nevada high school basketball.”

To prove that hard work is the key to success, even in a remote Nevada town, one needs only look at this young man.  Walker started playing at about three.  He became especially serious about basketball when he hit seventh grade and since has been striving to “be the best player I can be.”  During the summer, he plays with traveling teams from all over the country. “That has definitely helped my game and helped my game so much,” he said. These teams are from much larger schools, allowing Walker to compete against and learn from a variety of skilled players.

On top of all that, he has spent hours upon countless hours in the gym working on his game.  The results are now in the record books, as Walker recently passed Luke Babbit, from Galena (2005-2008), as the all-time leading scorer in the history of Nevada prep basketball.  The grin on his face told the whole story as he hit the three that put him ahead of Babbit.  “I knew I only needed one more basket, and get it off my chest,” he said.

He added, “It was a huge relief to finally achieve that goal.”

Not only did he achieve that goal, but will blow it apart with well over 3,000 points when it’s all said and done.  And he’ll leave the Nevada prep sports scene holding many other amazing records.

Walker credits far more than himself for his success.  “My family is my driving force,” he said. “My family, friends, and dad.”

But support for Walker and his teammates goes beyond family and close friends to the community as a whole.  There is no lack of support and Lincoln Spirit, as every basketball home game is a packed house with standing room only.

Long-time resident of Lincoln County, supporter of LCHS, and teacher William Katschke has seen many players come and go since his family moved to Lincoln County in 1970.  “It’s a privilege to watch such a seasoned team and individual play such as Dantley Walker,” he said.  He added how much he is enjoying watching his sophomore grandson Chandler Katschke play during such a historic season.

“I know the kids, know how they play,” he said. “It’s so thrilling to see them grow and progress.”

Mr. Katschke also volunteers as the team’s play-by-play man, broadcasting games live via audio and video stream.  Previously, games were streamed via live Internet audio only.  This year, Lincoln County Telephone System provided a camera to move broadcasts to live video.  Mr. Katschke praises the support of LCHS principal Marty Soderborg for the upgrade. “He provides a lot of behind-the-scenes work. I just get to be the voice, and I enjoy broadcasting.”

He added, “Lincoln County is a wonderful place with wonderful people. I have enjoyed every minute of it.”

Walker’s attitude mirrors that of his community.  A player of his magnitude could easily take all the credit,  but he is quick to praise his teammates. “We have a great team this year,” he said.   “A team as good as this one sure takes a lot of pressure off of me.”   His teammates reciprocate the respect.  With the last home game of his senior season under control in the final minutes, Walker was subbed out.  He ran to mid court and slapped the line, then walked off the floor.  As he approached the bench, each teammate gave him a big hug.

Senior guard Dantley Walker fades and shoots over two defenders. -- Photo by Gina Smith

Fellow senior teammate Colby Holt said his favorite part of the season was Walker’s record setting in scoring and assists and the closeness of their team. “We have good chemistry on the court and are a tight knit group,” he said. “When we work together as a team, we win.”

Holt is confident the Lynx winning tradition will be in good hands next year. “We have a lot of good players,” he said. “Ryan Rippetoe, Chandler Katschke, Seth Culverwell, Derek Cheeney and Jordan Davis, with three shooting ability, will all do well to step it up.”

“It has been awesome to have had the opportunity to play with such a great team and such a great player as Dantley Walker,” he added.

The team goes into playoffs as the second seed in the 2A south division.  Needles, Lincoln County, and Agassi Prep all closed the season with 11-3 records. Hold on tight, playoffs are going to be exciting to watch.  No doubt there will be a large group wearing red, supporting the young people of Lincoln County High School.