Progress in a high school athletics program can be measured in a variety of ways, but it always helps to have tangible results.
New Berlin West's boys basketball team reached numerous milestones this past season that shows growth, reaching double-digit wins for the first time since 2011-12, hosting a home playoff game for the first time since 2012 and winning a home playoff game for the first time since 2010.
The Vikings finished 10-14 overall in Brandon Mattox's second season as head coach, matching their win total from the past three years combined and improving by five wins from a 5-19 mark in 2015-16.
"West basketball is headed in the right direction, along with West athletics," Mattox said. "We've seen a real resurgence in the boys sports at West over the past year. (Athletic director) Jordan Napoli has done a great job in getting head coaches to work together for a common goal, and I think we're just starting to see the benefits of our work."
New Berlin West opened its season at 3-0 with wins over Milwaukee Madison, Burlington and Cudahy.
The Vikings then endured a stretch in which they lost eight of nine games, as the rugged Woodland West and a tough crossover game with Brown Deer provided a significant challenge.
But New Berlin West rebounded by winning three straight games in late January, collecting victories over South Milwaukee, Holmen and Shorewood. With wins over Lake Country Lutheran and Port Washington in February, the Vikings entered the playoffs at 9-13 and as the sixth seed in the WIAA Division 2 Brown Deer Sectional.
With the sixth seed came a home playoff game against 11th-seeded Milwaukee Pulaski. Senior guard Zach White scored 31 points to lift New Berlin West to a 73-65 victory to give the Vikings playoff wins in consecutive seasons.
New Berlin West's season came to an end with a 78-51 loss to third-seeded Whitnall in a regional semifinal.
Despite missing a month of the season due to injury, junior guard Joe Robey earned second-team All-Woodland West. He averaging 11.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game and shot 54.0 percent from the field.
White was named the team's Most Valuable Player and was honorable mention All-Woodland West after averaging 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Also earning honorable mention All-Woodland West honors were senior forward Fred Cottrell (13.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists) and senior forward Hunter Pipik (10.4 points, 7.5 rebounds).
Freshman guard Desmond Polk (8.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists) was the team's Most Improved Player, junior guard Dominic DeLuca was given the Hustle Award and Pipik earned the Viking Award. Robey, White and Pipik were honored with Captain Awards after serving as team captains.
In addition to White, Cottrell and Pipik, the Vikings will graduate senior forward Matt Obradovich (3.0 points, 3.9 rebounds), who was in the starting lineup for most of the season.
"I'm really going to miss this senior group," Mattox said. "They bought into a new coach and were willing to put the work in and they started the process of truly turning this program. I'll always be grateful to them."
While the loss of four starters and three of four leading scorers will be a challenge to overcome, New Berlin West has talent returning led by Robey and Polk, who flashed his potential as the season progressed, including a 27-point outburst against Shorewood. Also back from last season's rotation will be junior forward Tyler Torosian, junior forward Austin Obradovich, junior guard Mason Church and DeLuca.
"As hard as it will be to see our seniors go, they laid the foundation for West basketball moving forward," Mattox said. "The culture at West is shifting, and we have a very strong group of freshmen and sophomores that I am looking forward to coaching.
"We are knocking on the door to making some real noise in the Woodland West. Our league will once again be tough and we're looking forward to competing."