It’s been almost 2 weeks since the Camels season came to an end at Rupp Arena in the first round of the Sweet 16 Tournament, and it’s still hard to believe that basketball season is over. The Camels had a tough draw getting the defending state champion Covington Catholic Colonels in their opening round game. The Camels fell to the Colonels 64-43 in front of a large contingent of purple and gold supporters.
The Camels led 18-14 after the first period, and things looked promising for Coach Aric Russell’s squad. In the 2nd period, the Colonels started to hit shots and the Camels struggled a bit to score. At half, the Camels found themselves only down by 6 at 32-26. The 3rd quarter turned out to be the Camels downfall as they could only muster 6 points while being outscored by the Colonels 19-6. In the 4th quarter, the Colonels sat on the lead and took the air out of the ball. With the Colonels not really looking to score, the Camels could only foul to stop the clock, and the 4th period turned into a parade of Colonels heading to the free throw line.
Matt Wilson recorded a double double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Deondre Jackson scored 11 in his final game as a Camel. Blake Losey added 6, Trent McGovney 4, Craig Neltner 4, Jordan Day 4, & Cole Hegyi 2 to round out the scoring.
Enough about the game.
Let’s focus on this team and these kids for a moment and what they have accomplished the past 2 years. Back to back 20 win seasons; going 25-10 this year; back to back 37th District Championships; back to back 10th Region Championships; playing in the Ky Sweet 16 Tournament each of the last 2 years. And while nobody was more disappointed than those players when they walked off the Rupp Arena floor, they will start to realize as time goes by just how special all of their accomplishments truly are.
Even more impressive than the accomplishments on the court, is the fact that these are all good kids, good students, good friends, and they have become family to one another. One day they will all get together and reminisce about the “good ole days” and representing the Camels in the state tournament. I think it’s safe to say that this team and coaching staff have also changed the culture of Campbell County basketball. No longer is it a dream or hope to play in a State Tournament, but it is now a reasonable expectation for many of the younger Camel players. And while nobody would expect to play in the Sweet 16 every single year, this team has raised the bar and set an example for all of the future Camels to follow. Consider this. There are 304 boys high school basketball teams in the state of Kentucky, all with the dream of making it to the state tournament. Only 16 of those teams and a handful of players can say they played the last game of their season at Rupp Arena; and this team has done it twice. With starters Matt Wilson and Trent McGovney returning next year along with a JV squad that compiled a 13-9 record as 37th District JV champs, a freshman team that finished 19-3, and a strong 8th grade group, the future certainly looks bright for the Camels basketball program
These guys have had a great run and certainly have nothing to hang their heads about. The Camel community and all of “Hump Nation” are proud of you and all you’ve accomplished. Thank you for letting all of us be a part of some of the greatest memories you will have. Thank you to the Seniors for four years of hard work and commitment. And congratulations once again to all of the coaches and players on a historic and successful season. It’s been an amazing ride, and I can’t wait to do it all again. See you next year.
Connect with Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org