Then-Westosha Central senior Jack Polick rallies his classmates during an assembly honoring the Falcon boys basketball team in March (File Photo/The Report).

By Kenosha County historical standards, the Westosha Central boys basketball team flew in rare air last March at the Kohl Center in Madison, where they became just the sixth squad since 1941 to make a state boys basketball tournament appearance.

Although the Falcons lost, the appearance marked the first time in school history the team made the trip to the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament. The performance brought the community together.

Westosha Central Athletic Director Jonathan Lindh, who has been in the position since 2012, said the increased community support came at the end of the prior season when the Falcons came within one game of a state berth.

“Last year, we advanced to the sectional final and the whole atmosphere around the program and school really started to ramp up,” Lindh said at the time.

Lindh recalled a conversation with his father, a strong supporter of the program and high school level coach of more than 30 years, after the Falcons secured their first sectional title in program history at Oregon High School March 10.

“After the sectional game was over we were talking, and he stated how much has changed. In the old days, we would have small crowds with mostly parents of cheerleaders and players,” Lindh said. “At that time the band didn’t have many members, and the gym was mostly empty.”

The atmosphere started to transform about four years ago, when the school hired James Hyllberg to lead the boys basketball program, which came off seven straight losing seasons.

Since Hyllberg’s hire, the Falcons collected back-to-back Southern Lakes Conference titles, two regional titles and their first state appearance.

In 2017-18, the team notched a school record for most wins in a season with 22.

“Now we have very large crowds filled with community members, alumni and parents,” he said. “It truly is a community event. The band is big and loud, the cheer team is amazing and we have dance team performances at halftime.”

 
 

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