O’Brien: Unflappable Dwayne Rose Jr. leads Crete-Monee past Lemont

They were ready for Dwayne Rose Jr. on Tuesday in Lemont.

Rose, a junior at Crete-Monee, is Derrick Rose’s nephew. The Indians’ student section showed up at the game decked out in Bulls gear and several of the students in the front row were wearing Derrick Rose jerseys.

“I saw them out there before (Rose) did,” Crete-Monee senior Jeremiah Matthews said. “So I let him know he had to be in the right mindset tonight, that they were going to try and distract him. He did a good job, he actually shut the crowd up.”

Rose scored 21 points and shot 8-for-10 from the the free-throw line in the final two minutes to seal Crete-Monee’s 68-61 win over Lemont.

“It was pretty crazy,” Rose said. “I was trying to ignore it the whole game and just play.”

Rose has somehow managed to stay out of the spotlight for the past few years, but that is starting to change. He threw down a dunk last month at Joliet Central that created a stir on Twitter.

“That’s the first time we’ve seen (the opposing fan section in Bulls jerseys),” Cappel said. “That was kind of cool. (Rose) is really quiet, nothing is going to bother him.”

Matthews and Hasshim Keys each scored 10 points and 6-7 senior Victor Curry added 8 points and four rebounds for the Warriors (16-5).

Crete-Monee led by 10 points at the half. Lemont (12-9) kept the game tight in the third quarter and finally took the lead on Jerry Radomski’s post move with 4:41 left in the game.

Matthews responded with a drive to the basket for a bucket and then Curry slammed home a pass from Rose and Crete led 53-51. Rose’s solid free-throw shooting kept the Indians from threatening again.

Nick Wisz, a 6-3 senior, led Lemont with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He’s a crafty player, able to score in the post and use his footwork and smarts to get to the basket.

“(Wisz) gives us a trouble every year,” Matthews said. “We just did the best we could because he’s a really good player. He works hard and has good footwork. We just tried to keep him away from the hole and make him shoot outside shots.”

Crete-Monee held Lemont’s leading scorer, guard P.J. Pipes, to 17 points.

“We’ve been playing against Pipes for awhile,” Matthews said. “He’s always been their go-to player. We knew how to contain him during the game, but he will get his points. We definitely had a plan for him, just a lot of help side defense and a lot of talking.”

The Warriors were ranked in the preseason. They dropped a few games early, but have heated up since Christmas. They were on the verge of the Super 25 before being upset at Rich South last week.

“It’s starting to come along for us,” Matthews said. “That loss to Rich South really helped us as a team. We learned that instead of playing with teams we have to come out harder. We thought it was going to be an easy win.”

Rose is still a work in progress as a college prospect, but his ceiling is very high. He attempted a baseline drive and dunk in the second quarter that few high school players can even dream of making.

“He tries to do too much sometimes, but I thought he played really well tonight,” Cappel said.

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