WIAA BOYS BASKETBALL: Falcons, Union Grove meet again
Saturday’s regional title tipoff set for 7 p.m. at Central
By Jason Arndt
Five minutes is all it took for top seed Westosha Central High School to put away visiting Waterford in a WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal Friday.
The Falcons’ 73-62 victory, which advanced them to Saturday’s regional championship against No. 5 Union Grove, came after the Falcons and Wolverines had a tight contest the first 31 minutes.
Falcons’ coach James Hyllberg, whose team defeated the Wolverines twice in the regular season, said Waterford brought a steady mix of defensive schemes on Friday.
“They mixed it up, they brought a lot of zone, played a little 2-3, 1-3-1,” said Hyllberg. “They played really well.”
Entering the second half, with the Falcons ahead 35-33, they maintained until Waterford senior Matt Korman steered the contest in the Wolverines’ favor at 57-56 with 5:08 left, when he knocked in a go-ahead bucket.
However, Westosha Central responded with an 11-0 run, sparked by a 5-foot-11 senior Tre Williams basket with 4:37 left of regulation.
Williams, who scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, said “refocusing and making adjustments” were crucial in the Falcons’ turnaround.
From there, Westosha Central broke the contest open, courtesy of a 3-point play by 6-4 junior Cooper Brinkman, followed by a 6-4 sophomore Dylan Anderson layup to build the Falcons lead to 63-57.
Brinkman, who knocked in nine of his career-high 19 points in second half, noted Waterford’s 1-3-1 defense as a primary contributor for his Friday output.
“They were playing 1-3-1 zone, and they really weren’t boxing out at all on put backs,” said Brinkman.
For Hyllberg, Brinkman’s intensity did not come as a surprise, stating the junior acknowledges his role in the paint.
“He is the anchor at the top of the 1-3-1, if he gets going, we get going,” said Hyllberg. “Cooper is one of those guys that wants to win.”
A Williams bucket, two Brinkman free throws and a 6-0 Jaeden Zackery jumper widened the Falcons edge to 69-57.
Zackery finished with 10 points, including six from the arc, for the Falcons.
The 12-point lead the last two minutes was enough for the Falcons, as they coasted the rest of the contest to secure the victory.
Waterford coach Paul Charapata said the Falcons’ fast-paced play the last five minutes was too much to overcome.
“They are going to score, they are a very talented team, well-coached, they are aggressive and they are up tempo,” said Charapata. “We have to play pretty close to a perfect game to come out with a victory (against Central).”
Waterford, led by Korman’s 18 points, in addition to 6-4 junior Will Busch’s 15, concluded its season with a 7-17 overall record.
Next for Westosha Central is a third meeting with No. 5 seed Union Grove, which defeated host Elklhorn Friday.