By taking care of its own business and receiving some help in the process, Pewaukee's boys basketball team is on the verge of securing the Woodland West championship.
With an 88-68 rout of New Berlin West on Tuesday combined with a Pius XI loss to New Berlin Eisenhower, the Pirates can win their first conference title since 2011-12 with a victory over the Popes on Friday.
Pewaukee, which has recovered from a loss to Whitnall on Jan. 27 with three straight wins, leads Pius XI by 2 1/2 games and Eisenhower by three games. The Pirates and Lions have three league games remaining, while the Popes have four.
"If we would have overlooked them, they have enough talent to beat us," Pewaukee coach Mike Basile said. "I'm happy to get a win. Our conference is so tough. We just had to protect our palace, which is what we call our homecourt. Now we move on to Friday. We'll get after it (Thursday) at practice and will be ready to go Friday."
The Pirates showed the different ways they can hurt teams offensively against the Vikings. It was junior forward Grant Basile doing the damage early, scoring 19 of his game-high 25 points in the first half to give Pewaukee a 38-27 lead at the break.
Once New Berlin West started to collapse on Grant Basile in the post, the Pirates started draining 3-pointers. After hitting just 2 of 10 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half, Pewaukee went 6 of 10 in the second half, including Jack Gohlke hitting four second-half triples to finish with 17 points.
Aidan Nordquist scored 14 points, and Wyatt Cook added 12 points.
"First half, Grant was able to score for us down low," Mike Basile said. "I thought he was pretty effective, which caused them to collapse in the second half. We were able to hit the open man and knock down some 3-point shots.
While the Pirates led by over 20 points for most of the second half and by as much 30 points at one point, Mike Basile still wasn't completely pleased with his team's performance.
"It was good overall, but we have to have some better things from people if we want to go where I think we can go," Mike Basile said. "I'm happy with the win but a little frustrated with our play.
"It was just the execution and energy level. I'm just looking for a little more energy from certain guys, and I'm just not getting it. We have to figure out a way to get that."
Despite the game getting away in the second half, there certainly were positives for a much-improved New Berlin West team, which fell to 7-10 overall and 3-10 in the Woodland West. The Vikings hung with the state-ranked Pirates for a good portion of the first half before the game began to slip away just before halftime.
Fred Cottrell scored 18 points to lead New Berlin West, while freshman guard Desmond Polk continued to show his improvement with 14 points.
Vikings second-leading scorer Joe Robey has been cleared to return from a leg injury but was not ready for game action Feb. 7 and missed his eighth straight game. New Berlin West was also without junior guard, Mason Church, because of a knee injury.
"We did some positive things," New Berlin West coach Brandon Mattox said. "Right now, we want to get to 10 wins and get a home playoff game. That's what we are playing for right now. Tonight was big, and we wanted to compete. We came here to win, but obviously we came up short."