The Vile vs The Brook has evolved into a fun basketball rivalry in the South West suburbs. Bolingbrook has been one of the most successful teams in the state under the leadership of Rob Brost. Mark Howard took a sleepy Romeoville program and made it relevant.

So there was a sizeable crowd in Romeoville on Wednesday. Along with most of the hoop heads in Will County, Joliet West stars Jeremiah Fears and Jeremy Fears Jr. were at the gym to watch.

Raiders guard Mehki Cooper said, “Everybody knows each other so it’s always fun.”

The result was the same as it has been since Brost took over in 2007: a victory for the Raiders, who were in control from the start and won 59–48.

Cooper, a Miami (Ohio) recruit, led No. 18 Bolingbrook (11-4) with 14 points. The senior point guard finally has all of his running backs back. The Raiders lost several key players to injuries in the first month of the season.

“It’s much better,” Cooper said. “It gave us all a lot of confidence. But we held it together when they left.

Bolingbrook dominated the second quarter, holding Romeoville to just two field goals and two free throws.

“We really executed our game plan and just played smart and played together,” Cooper said.

Cooper has three capable backcourt partners in juniors Josh Aniceto, DJ Strong and Kian Berry-Johnson. But Bolingbrook’s edge comes from its size. Donavan Younger, a 6-10 senior, and Keon Alexander, a 6-6 senior, are dependable forces at the position.

Aries Hull, who transferred from Tennessee this season, has been a difference-maker since returning from an early season injury. The 6-8 senior has led the Raiders in scoring in some games. He had three points and six boards against Romeoville (12-6).

“The team welcomed me with open arms,” ​​Hull said. “It has been a family vibe and a smooth transition. Everyone helped me when I was not playing and it was all love.

Younger finished with seven points and five rebounds, and Alexander scored six points. Strong added 12 and Aniketo added nine points for Bolingbrook.

“There aren’t many teams that can really match the three of us, so it’s a game changer,” Hull said. ,[Younger and Alexander] Make my life easier because I can focus on defense and block shots and rebounds. We all work well together.”

The Raiders have been in and out of the rankings this season. They have a total stretch coming up over the next seven days with games against Andrew, No. 10 Brother Rice and No. 22 Oswego East.

Romeoville’s Mayoh Swanse (3) takes the ball to the rim and scores against Bolingbrook.

Alan Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

“We’re starting to show some signs of moving in the right direction,” Brost said. “We lost to Decatur MacArthur, who is still undefeated, and several other losses were due to our top three players not playing. No excuses, but I feel good about where we are.

Romeoville, which lost to defending Class 3A state champion Sacred Heart-Griffin in the championship game at the State Farm Holiday Classic in Bloomington, took care of business and won every game it expected this season.

But the Spartans suffered losses in front of all ranked teams, losing to Hyde Park, Brother Rice, Joliet West, and Lemont.

Junior Mayoh Swansea led Romeoville with 17 points. Senior Aaron Brown scored 15 and Troy Cicero Jr. scored 14.

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