Westosha Central senior Nic Frederick, shown here eluding a Broncos defender Jan. 19, knocked in 11 points to help the Falcons defeat host Wilmot Friday (Earlene Frederick/The Report).

By Jason Arndt

According to Westosha Central High School senior Nic Frederick, what impressed him the most about Friday’s tilt against host Wilmot Union High School was the Falcons tight defense, which led to a frustrating night for Wilmot’s Latrell Glass.

“Our defense played great, and we had some great transitions, good defense makes a good offense,” Frederick said.

The Falcons, who mixed a variety of defensive schemes, including a 1-3-1 zone and man-to-man, held Glass scoreless through the first 27 minutes of Friday’s contest.

With the Falcons defense and a game-high 22 points from junior Jaeden Zackery, they came away with an 82-66 Southern Lakes Conference victory, which improves their record to 12-2 overall and 7-1 in the SLC.

The Panthers dropped to 4-4 in the SLC and 8-6 overall.

Along with Zackery, Westosha Central’s low post performers Cooper Brinkman and junior Dylan Anderson had 16 points each.

Panthers coach Jake Erbentraut, who acknowledged the Falcons defense, said their swift pass distribution was another area of difficulty.

“They are a good team, they got composure, they know where to put the ball, and in the right places at the right time,” said Erbentraut.

For Zackery, responsible for defending Glass, he knocked in 12 of his 22 points in the first half and the Panthers attempted multiple times to expose his weaknesses.

“We tried to put him away and it was tough at times to expose him,” he said.

Although the Panthers dropped a 14-point verdict to the Falcons, they still offered a steady diet of 3-pointers, notably from seniors Jeremy Bruton and Kyle Gendron in the first half.

Combined, Bruton and Gendron drained five of the Panthers’ six 3-pointers.

The Panthers perimeter threats, according to Falcons coach James Hyllberg, clearly showed on Friday.

“They are a dangerous team, they drive to the hoop, they have shooters,” he said. “You saw tonight, they don’t miss an open 3-point shot, that is for sure.”

Perimeter threats start early
While Westosha Central penetrated the Panthers defense, courtesy of Brinkman and Anderson to open the contest, Wilmot continued to find open looks along the arc.

After Anderson made a bucket in the paint, Panthers’ junior Zack Watson responded with a 3-pointer at the right corner of the court, but Anderson responded on the next possession to spark a 6-0 run.

Junior guard Adam Simmons then added back-to-back baskets to cap off the 6-0 run, which extended the Falcons lead to 8-3.

Bruton, however, cut the Westosha Central edge to 8-6 after he buried a shot from behind the arc.

Wilmot, which posted a 5-2 run to cut its deficit to 12-11 with about 12 minutes left in the opening frame, then allowed five straight points to Zackery.

With 11:40 left, Zackery drew a 3-point play, courtesy of a basket in heavy Panthers’ traffic followed by a Bruton foul. He then added another bucket on the next possession to give Westosha Central a 17-11 lead.

From there, Wilmot went on a 10-4 run, which started with a Bruton 3-pointer and ended with two Bruton free throws to trim the Westosha Central lead to 22-21 with 6:00 left in the first half.

Westosha Central, meanwhile, responded with runs of 10-0 and 9-0 to take a 44-27 lead entering halftime.

The Falcons, who bolstered their lead to 55-34 to open the second half, saw Zackery draw his fourth personal foul with 11:12 left of regulation.

The foul, which sent junior Kevin Brenner to the free throw line, forced Hyllberg to make a call to his bench.

“We went to a zone a couple of times, just brought in another guard, and waited for as long as we could to get him back in the game,” said Hyllberg.

Meanwhile, for Glass, who missed his first 10 shots, he eventually found his rhythm with 9:00 left in regulation on a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to trim the Westosha Central lead to 59-42.

Glass then responded by scoring 13 points to finish with a team-leading 16.

According to Glass, he knew the Falcons would focus on him, and said he struggled to find open looks in the first half.

“I think they did a good job of closing in on me,” said Glass, who entered Friday’s contest at 17.5 points per game.

Bruton finished with 14 points and Gendron had another 12.

Meanwhile, for the Falcons, they bounced back from a Jan. 19 loss to Union Grove, which brought relief for Hyllberg.

“We just wanted to execute. I thought Union Grove played a great game, we watched film and wanted to get better after each game,” he said. “It is nice to be back in the win column.”


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