No. 2 Westosha Central (19-4) hosts No. 3 Waukesha West (16-7) 7 p.m. Saturday

By Jason Arndt

In Friday’s WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal against visiting Jefferson, when Westosha Central High School’s Cooper Brinkman got started, the rest of the Falcons followed.

The second-seeded Falcons, who carried a 31-24 edge entering halftime, opened the second half with a 7-0 run to pull ahead 38-25.

Brinkman, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, sparked the rally on a bucket in the paint and in the Falcons next possession, he created a 3-point play when he drew personal foul from Jefferson’s Zack Peterson.

He then ignited a 12-0 run, which propelled the No. 2 Falcons to a 72-61 defeat of the Eagles (10-14), and advanced Westosha Central to Saturday’s regional final against No. 3 Waukesha West.

Brinkman, who scored a team-leading 20 points, said the key to Friday’s victory was finding its transition game and coming out with intensity in the second half.

“I am energy guy, I like to get everyone going,” said Brinkman.

In addition to Brinkman, the Falcons garnered 17 points from 6-1 junior guard Jaeden Zackery, who converted all five of his free throws and tied senior guard Nic Frederick for the team lead with three steals.

Frederick, meanwhile, scored 12 points, including the go-ahead and eventual game-winning bucket to give the Falcons a 20-18 lead with less than eight minutes left in the opening frame.

Frederick also contributed a team-leading five assists.

Junior Dylan Anderson, a 6-3 forward, contributed four of his 10 points in Westosha Central’s 12-0 second half run.

According to Falcons’ coach James Hyllberg, Anderson’s low post presence took the pressure off of Brinkman, notably in the second half.

“(Cooper) and Dylan both played well, they got some high/low action in the second half, and Cooper got a couple of and ones and he made his free throws,” Hyllberg said.

Defensive switch
The Falcons’ 72-61 victory came in spite of Jefferson’s Peterson, who knocked in six of his team’s nine 3-pointers, and finished with a game-high 26 points.

In the first half, where Peterson made three from the arc, the Falcons mixed up a 1-3-1 and 3-2 defensive scheme.

Entering the second half, Hyllberg switched to a man-to-man defense, which opened up opportunities in transition.

“We switched to a man-to-man defense and we did a better job of pressuring the ball,” Hyllberg said.

Next up: Waukesha West
With Friday’s victory, Westosha Central (19-4) looks to claim another regional title on Saturday, when the Falcons host No. 3 Waukesha West.

Waukesha West (16-7), which defeated sixth-seeded Burlington 84-57 on Friday, lost to the Falcons 58-45 in a Jan. 16 non conference contest in Waukesha.

A week before the Wolverines lost to Westosha Central, they were ranked 10th in the Boys Basketball Coaches Poll, and has since fallen off the list.

The Falcons, however, do not plan on taking the Wolverines lightly on Saturday.

“We know they are a dangerous team, so we got to come out with energy, we got to come out with active hands and have to play smart,” Hyllberg said.

Brinkman agreed, adding the Falcons have to show intensity.

“Just get some rest and come out and play as hard as possible,” he said. “They are a good team and they are a good matchup and I am looking forward to playing them again.”


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