Campbell County, Scott Will Play for 10th Region Title
Scott 54, Harrison County 53
If there is one thing 10th Region basketball fans have learned in the last ten years, it is to never, under any circumstances, write off a basketball team coached by Brad Carr.
After an “embarrassing” loss to Campbell County High School in the 37th District Championship, it appeared that Scott High School was limping into the 10th Region tournament – that is, to people who had not yet learned the aforementioned rule about never counting out the Eagles.
One week after Scott’s 44-point loss to the Camels, they held on to beat Harrison County 54-53 in the 10th Region semifinals.
Scott held an 11-9 lead after one quarter of play. All nine of the Thoroughbreds’ points came from presumed All-Region forward Trenton Thompson. Early in the second quarter, however, Harrison County tried to force the issue when feeding Thompson the ball on the block, turning it over three times in the first two minutes of the quarter.
Scott took advantage of Harrison County’s mistakes, extending their lead to 23-13 after a Jake Ohmer three-pointer. Harrison County senior guard DJ Jenkins quickly answered with a three-pointer at the other end, however, and that ten-point lead would not be approached for the remainder of the game.
Harrison County finished the second quarter on a 12-4 run to cut the lead to 27-25 at the half. They picked up right where the left in the third quarter, going on a 7-0 run to take a 32-27 lead, but Scott answered right back with a 7-0 run of their own to regain a 34-32 lead.
Scott sophomore guard Jake Ohmer nailed a floater to end the third quarter, giving The Eagles a 43-38 lead heading into the fourth. Through three quarters of play, Ohmer had 20 points. Despite his hot early start, Harrison County’s Trenton Thompson’s offensive touches grew inexplicably limited after the first quarter, as he netted just two points in the second and third quarters.
The fourth quarter saw four ties and five lead changes, with neither team holding a lead of greater than three points. Senior guard Blake Schneider shook off a tough shooting night, confidently drilling a three-pointer and a pair of free throws to give Scott a 54-51 lead with one minute remaining.
Harrison County’s DJ Jenkins answered on the other end with a quick basket to cut the margin back to one point. After Scott missed a lay-up with 30 seconds left on the clock, Jenkins was fouled on a drive to the basket with six seconds remaining, with the Thoroughbreds still trailing by one.
Jenkins missed both free throws, but the rebound from his second bounced off of a Scott High School player’s hands and out of bounds, giving Harrison County one last chance with five seconds remaining.
After a pair of timeouts from both teams, Harrison County struggled to get a good look off of the in-bounds pass, missing a turnaround jumper at the buzzer.
“All year we’ve had bracelets that said ‘brothers’, and he reminded us of that,” said Scott Sophomore guard Jake Ohmer, on the instruction given to the team by head coach Brad Carr during those final timeouts. “He said he loved us and that we were going to finish this one out.”
Ohmer led the Eagles’ offense with 26 points, followed by Blake Schneider’s 13 points. Trenton Thompson paced the Thoroughbreds’ offense with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Jenkins also netted 16 points for Harrison County.
Scott battled a size disadvantage throughout the game, as each member of Harrison County’s front line stands at 6’3” or taller. Scott held their own on the defensive glass, however.
“One of the biggest things we worked on was pinching in and getting all five guys to box out and go rebound when a shot goes up,” said Scott head coach Brad Carr. “All of [Harrison County’s] guys crash the offensive glass hard, so our number one key was to box out and defensively rebound the basketball.”
With the win, Scott improves their season record to 18-13. The loss drops Harrison County’s final season record to 16-15.
Scott advances to the 10th Region Championship, where they will seek sweet revenge on 37th District rival and district champion Campbell County Tuesday night. This marks the first time the 10th Region Championship will include two Northern Kentucky Schools. Scott and Campbell County are set to tip at 7:00 p.m.
Campbell County 81, Pendleton County 67
Defending 10th Region champion Campbell County had their hands full for a half in the regional semifinals at The Fieldhouse in Mason County before pulling away in the third quarter. The Camels won by a final score of 81-67 over Pendleton County.
Campbell County held a significant size advantage at nearly every position over Pendleton County. The young Wildcats were able to neutralize much of the Camels’ size in the post, however, by aggressively boxing out on the defensive boards and providing immediate help-side defense when the ball entered the post.
After one quarter of play, Campbell County held a 12-11 advantage. The Camels started the second quarter on a 13-4 run to extend their lead to 25-15, but Pendleton County 8th-grader Dontaie Allen answered with a three, followed by a pull-up jumper by junior guard Hunter Wood to cut the lead to five.
Allen returned from a broken wrist at the onset of the 38th District Tournament, and promptly dropped a career-high 34 points in the Wildcats’ first round matchup with Robertson County. He struggled to find an offensive rhythm for much of the first half against the Camels, however, thanks in no small part to the stingy defense of Campbell County Senior guard Deondre Jackson.
Campbell County finished the first half by missing two put-backs, before sophomore guard Cole Hegyi converted on the third attempt at the buzzer. The Camels held a 34-28 halftime lead.
The third quarter belonged to Campbell County but more specifically, senior guard Blake Losey. Losey scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the third period, including five straight points to cap off a 16-6 run that extended the Camels’ lead to 50-34 at the 2:30 mark of the third quarter. Losey exited the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter with an apparent hip injury.
Campbell County outscored Pendleton 24-13 in the third quarter, opening a 58-41 lead heading into the fourth.
Pendleton County stretched the final five minutes of play out, and Campbell County left the door open with a few missed free throws and untimely turnovers. The Wildcats had a chance to cut the lead to single digits with 1:30 to play but were unable to convert on offense.
Sophomore guard Michael Antrobus led Pendleton County in scoring with a game-high 26 points, followed by Allen, who finished with 13. Campbell County junior center Matt Wilson battled early foul trouble and physical low-post defense from the Wildcats to finish with 13 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. Deondre Jackson chipped in 12 points as well.
It was the play of Campbell County’s role players, however, that made the difference in the game. The Camels got excellent contributions and timely baskets from junior guard Trent McGovney, sophomore forward Cole Hegyi, and backup center Craig Neltner.
“That’s what we have to do to be great,” said Campbell County head coach Aric Russell, in regards to his team’s bench play. “We got in a little foul trouble early on, but our reserves came in and played great. It’s a nice luxury to have guys like Cole [Hegyi], Neltner, and Jordan Day that can sub in and make us even better at times.”
With the win, Campbell County improves its season record to 24-9. The loss drops Pendleton County’s final season record to 15-17. The over-achieving Wildcats put together an impressive resume under the guidance of first-year head coach Keaton Belcher.
Campbell County advances to an all-Northern Kentucky 10th Region Final, where they will take on 37th District rival Scott High School on Tuesday night. The Camels throttled Scott 70-26 in the 37th District Championship last week, but lost to Scott, 77-68, at The Bank of Kentucky Center back in January.
- Story and photo by Alex Valentine, RCN contributor