Westosha Central’s Jaeden Zackery makes a pursuit for the hoop in last season’s WIAA Division II sectional final against Waunakee held at Middleton High School (File Photo/The Report).

Westosha boasts athletic guards

By Jason Arndt
Editor

Back-to-back outright Southern Lakes Conference titles, a WIAA Division II boys basketball sectional final appearance were among several highlights in James Hyllberg’s two seasons as coach of Westosha Central High School.

While this year’s team brings a different look, considering the loss of two key starters from 2016-17, Hyllberg hopes to see his Falcons team contend for a third consecutive SLC championship.

“We hope to contend again this year,” said Hyllberg, who guided the Falcons to a 12-2 conference record in 2016-17 when they finished 20-6 overall.

“We want to play hard, play smart, and play together,” he said.

The Falcons ended their 2016-17 campaign in Middleton where Waunakee edged them in the sectional final.

Without SLC Player of the Year Tre Williams and fellow starter Lucas Graveley, both of whom graduated, Hyllberg will look to a strong core returners.

In the backcourt, where Williams was an effective shooter, Hyllberg is counting on three key returning guards to make critical ball handling decisions.

The three returners are 6-foot-1 junior Jaeden Zackery and 5-11 senior Nic Frederick, both honorable mention SLC last year, and 6-2 junior Adam Simmons.

As a sophomore, Zackery was second in scoring with 9.5 points per game, and also was second with 2.5 assists per game.

For Frederick, he paced the offense, producing a team-leading 3.5 assists per game.

Simmons, meanwhile, produced solid minutes as a sophomore.

“Those three guards will be counted on in a big way,” Hyllberg said. “All three have experience and will be trusted to make good decisions with the ball.”

Offsetting the loss of Graveley in the low post, Hyllberg plans to utilize returning senior Cooper Brinkman and 6-3 junior Dylan Anderson.

Brinkman, a 6-4 forward who notched second team SLC honors last season, was the team leader with 4.6 rebounds per game and also contributed 8.3 points per game.

Returning senior Joey Gilliland, a 6-3 forward, also offers reinforcement in the paint.

While the team boasts key returners, the Falcons are relying on seven newcomers to step up, according to Hyllberg.

“We have seven new players who will be playing varsity for the first time,” he said. “We are going to need contributions from them if we are going to repeat last year’s performance.”

The newcomers are juniors John Marcquenski (6-0 guard), Joey Michelau (6-3 guard), Jake Mueller (6-0 guard), Cameron Krueger (6-2 guard), Kyle Lois (5-11 guard), Zack Burzawa (6-2 forward) and Samy Greco (6-0 guard).

Without Williams, Hyllberg said it opens up an opportunity for the newcomers to shine, and showcase their talent.

“Other guys are going to have to step up,” he said. “It will be a collective effort and I’m excited to see what our new guys are going to bring to the team.”

As the Falcons enter their season, standing in the way of their goal to notch a third straight title are three teams, including a competitive Burlington squad.

“Wilmot and Union Grove are also returning their core group and it would be irresponsible to overlook them as well,” Hyllberg said.

 
 

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