The Westosha Central student section shouts words of support for Jaeden Zackery after he scored his 1,000th career point Friday against Wilmot (Photo courtesy of Nancy Switalla).

By Jason Arndt

For several days, Westosha Central High School senior Jaeden Zackery admits he grew tired of constant reminders about his 1,000th career point, but he found relief on Friday against visiting Wilmot.

Zackery, who needed 30 points to reach the milestone, was at 27 points when he drew a personal foul following a basket with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in regulation.

After the senior guard successfully converted the free throw, the Falcons student section erupted in cheers, which became amplified when Westosha Central won the contest 84-61.

Zackery, however, said the career achievement is secondary, considering his main objective was to simply help the Falcons win their sixth consecutive game.

“People kept telling me every day leading up to this game, we haven’t played in like a week, they just kept telling me every day, ‘We need 30 points’ this next game,” he said. “I just wanted to win the game, and wanted to get through the game.”

Westosha Central coach James Hyllberg said Zackery’s milestone was well-deserved, considering his work ethic.

“I couldn’t be more happy for a kid. It is well deserved and I am just very proud of him,” Hyllberg said.

The Falcons, ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll, improved to 12-1 overall and stays unbeaten in Southern Lakes Conference play at 7-0.

Westosha Central and Zackery, meanwhile, did not have an easy task against the Panthers.

“I got to give Wilmot a lot of credit, they had a good game plan, they were pushing guys on J.Z.,” said Falcons coach James Hyllberg. “They had good defense and made a lot of 3’s.”

Wilmot, which made nine 3-pointers as a team, spent most of the contest double- or triple-teaming Zackery.

Zackery, held to 11 first half points, said Wilmot’s Zack Watson and Mason Moravectz applied constant pressure throughout the game.

“They were playing good defense on me, doubling me whenever I got the ball to get it out of my hands and make the rest of the team work,” said Zackery.

The Panthers pressure, meanwhile, created an opportunity for seniors Dylan Anderson and Jake Mueller.

Anderson, who finished with 21 points, made five 3-pointers while Mueller had 11 points.

“Dylan was a really good help tonight, he is one of the best shooters on the team, so he was knocking down shots,” Zackery said.

For Mueller, known for his willingness to dish the ball, the senior guard stepped up when the Falcons needed it.

“(Jake) is definitely like a true point guard, he really sees the court well, plays defense really well, doesn’t shoot all of the the time. He is really good at finding the rest of the team,” Zackery said.

Tight opening half
The Panthers, in the first half, tightly contested the Falcons to carry a 35-30 deficit into halftime.

Panthers sophomore London Glass, who finished second on the team with 13 points, gave Wilmot its lone lead of the contest on a basket to pull the Panthers ahead 4-2.

Westosha Central responded with buckets by Zackery and freshman Jack Rose to take a 6-4 edge. Rose finished with 11 points.

Mueller then extended the lead to 9-4 on a 3-point play.

Westosha Central, which led by as many as 11 points in the first half, saw its lead to diminish to five points at the closing of the opening frame.

Panthers’ sophomore Kevin Sandman scored 10 of his team-leading 18 points in the first half.

Westosha finds transition
The Falcons, in the second half, found their transition and up tempo offense by producing two 5-0 runs, a 7-0 run and finished the contest with 10 consecutive points.

“We had good second half, we got into transition, we got some easy passes,” said Hyllberg.

For the Panthers, coach Jake Erbentraut credited his team for challenging the Westosha Central, and diligently trying to keep the ball out of Zackery’s hands.

“We thought we had a good game plan and we executed pretty well,” said Erbentraut. “Central is a very good team.”

Senior Kevin Brenner pitched in another 10 points for Wilmot (11-4, 5-3 SLC).

Wilmot is in a third place tie with Burlington in the SLC.


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