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Sports

Boys Basketball: Ray J Dennis, Wolves get rebound win, ready for showdown with Romeoville

Oswego East's Ray J Dennis (10) shoots a three pointer against Oswego's Jamal Fomby Jr. (4) in Oswego Dec. 20.
Oswego East's Ray J Dennis (10) shoots a three pointer against Oswego's Jamal Fomby Jr. (4) in Oswego Dec. 20.

OSWEGO – Ray J Dennis and Oswego East didn't mind the short turnaround.

It's the start of a huge week.

Dennis poured in 26 points, and the Wolves bounced back from a weekend loss with an 82-73 win over visiting Metea Valley on Tuesday.

Oswego East (12-3, 2-0) was coming off a loss to Normal Community at the St. Joseph-Ogden Shootout Saturday.

The Wolves quickly put the sting of that loss to bed, jumping out to a 21-10 lead after a quarter, 43-27 by halftime.

"It was good for us to bounce back, and refocus," said Dennis, a Boise State recruit. "We got our confidence and swag back a little. It was a good game for us."

Demari Grant added 19 points and Sam Schultz 16 for Oswego East, which overcame a 35-point effort from Metea Valley's Ethan Helwig.

"We didn't play well on Saturday, give credit to Normal, so getting back to it early was good for us," Oswego East coach Ryan Velasquez said. "It wasn't that clean of a game [against Metea] but we were much more aggressive, doing the little things, paying closer attention to those kinds of things."

Oswego East led Metea by as many as 21, before a late surge.

"I was happy that we were able to maintain that lead throughout, but we still have to keep that killer instinct," Velasquez said. "They were able to claw back a little bit, and hang around. That's something we got to work on."

The Wolves get a big one Friday, hosting Romeoville (11-3, 2-0) in a matchup of conference unbeatens. Those two, and Minooka, are 2-0 in the Southwest Prairie.

"I'm really excited for it," Dennis said. "It should be a good game, we'll be home, we'll be comfortable. We have to have two good practices and be ready for Friday. I know most of their players from AAU, for the most part we grew up in the same area, I saw them play against Bolingbrook so I know they're tough and big. We have to come out ready."

It's the start of a busy weekend, as the Wolves play South Elgin on Saturday at the Downers Grove North Winter Classic.

But Friday takes top priority – especially since it's the only meeting between the Wolves and Romeoville, projected as two of the SPC favorites.

Romeoville, with quality losses to Morgan Park and Bolingbrook, is led by 6-foot-3 senior guard Mike Salter, 6-5 junior Destin Whitaker and 6-8 Benet transfer Noah Ferrell.

"The kids know what's at stake," Velasquez said. "Romeoville is athletic, they can shoot the ball, they have big guys inside – they're a dangerous team. We're lucky to have them at our place. A team like Romeoville, on our floor, it doesn't get much bigger."

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