High School Basketball

Campbell County aims to get over Sweet Sixteen hump in its sixth state visit

Reid Jolly, a 6-foot-4 junior, leads Campbell County in scoring at 18.1 points per game.
Reid Jolly, a 6-foot-4 junior, leads Campbell County in scoring at 18.1 points per game. The Ledger Independent

The 101st Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen basketball state tournament tips Wednesday at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

Below is the team profile for the Campbell County Camels, who will meet University Heights Academy in the first round at noon Thursday.

CAMPBELL COUNTY

Region: 10th

Record: 28-5

Enrollment: 1,454 (748 boys)

Coach’s résumé

Aric Russell is in his eighth season at Campbell County, his alma mater. He was previously at Newport for nine years. His overall record is 362-226.

Probable starters

4) Drew Wilson, 6-2, Jr., 10.1 ppg

11) Reid Jolly, 6-4, Jr., 18.1 ppg

21) Tanner Clos, 6-2, Sr., 15.5 ppg

23) Joel Day, 6-0, Sr., 14.9 ppg

30) Jesse Russell, 6-2, Sr., 2.8 ppg

How they got here

The Camels were denied a trip to Rupp last season after Scott’s Jake Ohmer hit a last-second, game-winning three to stun them in the region finals. Campbell County turned the tables by defeating Scott in the district and region finals this time around, and it comes to Rupp as one of the state’s most offensively efficient teams — making 50.4 percent of its shots on the season. “We’re a team that moves the ball extremely well. And we shoot it pretty well,” Russell said. “We have good guard play.” The Camels have four players scoring in double figures this season, and they’re averaging 71.8 points per game as a team. “I think it’s one of those teams where anybody can have a big night,” Russell said. “You always have somebody step up. I think those guys being really unselfish players has really helped us as far as being able to reach our goals.”

Sixth time’s the charm?

Campbell County has been to the Sweet Sixteen five other times in school history, but the Camels have never won a game on the state’s biggest stage. Maybe this is the year? “It’d be big,” Russell said with a chuckle. “It would be some history for the school, because it hasn’t been done. And I haven’t done it yet as a coach, so it would be nice to do it as a coach also, being down there four times.” Russell also coached Newport to a region title in 2010 before that team lost to Christian County in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen.

Player to watch

Reid Jolly is averaging 18.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the Camels, and he was also a standout on the football field this past fall, hauling in six touchdown catches and two interceptions. He brings some of that gridiron grit to the basketball court. “It’s deceptive how much he can score,” Russell said. “He’s a football player playing basketball — he’s really strong and has nice touch around the basket. But he can also step out and hit the three, and he handles the ball pretty well, too. He’s such a big, strong kid.”

Sweet history

This is the Camels’ sixth trip to the Sweet Sixteen and their third in the past five seasons. The school’s first state tournament appearance was in 1946.

Chris Ware | Herald-Leader staff
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