By John Lachmann
MAYSVILLE, Ky. – Matt Wilson may be listed as a sophomore on Campbell County’s roster, but he played like a senior on Monday.
The forward scored 16 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the Camels’ 63-53 win over Harrison County in a regional semifinal at Mason County, which sent Campbell County to its first Region 10 championship game since 2001.
Wilson pulled down 12 of his boards in the second half, and he went 8-for-10 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to help seal the win.
“We told him that we had to control the boards to win this game, and he almost did it by himself,” Campbell County coach Aric Russell said.
Some context: The Camels finished with 30 rebounds as a team, meaning Wilson ended up with 63 percent of his team’s boards. The teams combined for just 52 boards, so Wilson’s 19 were 37 percent of the game’s total.
“That was my mission – I went out there and tried to get as many rebounds as I could,” Wilson said.
Campbell County looked like it might make short work of Harrison County, as junior forward DeOndre Jackson hit a bucket to open the scoring and picked up assists on the next two, including a three-point play by senior guard Corey Holbrook that capped a 7-0 run.
But the Thorobreds hit a trey and used a 6-0 run to pull within two by the end of the first quarter, 13-11.
The teams traded baskets most of the low-scoring second period until the Camels took a five-point lead on a trey by junior guard Jake Losey and a field goal by Holbrook 28 seconds later.
However, that was erased as Harrison County’s D.J. Jenkins scored with 1:11 left in the half and converted a three-point play after knocking down a field goal at the buzzer.
The score was tied, 30-30 with 1:17 left in the third quarter when Campbell County sophomore guard Trent McGovney pumped in two free throws. McGovney hit a short jumper with five seconds left, and Holbrook stole the inbound pass and laid it in as the horn sounded to make it a six-point game.
“I always try to keep an eye back as I’m running down the floor to see if the inbounder’s looking, and if he ain’t looking at me I try to pick off the pass and get a big momentum swing,” Holbrook said.
That was the Camels largest lead since their 7-0 run to open the game.
Russell said Holbrook also pulled that trick off against Brossart earlier this season.
“That’s something that he’s done throughout his career,” Russell said. “When we go man-to-man, get a little stop, get a score, he sneaks in there and gets a steal. He’s done that quite a bit and that’s huge for us.”
Harrison County answered with a three-point play to open the final stanza, but Holbrook hit two more foul shots and Jackson one to give Campbell County back its six-point lead.
After that point the Thorobreds could not pull closer than four.
A pivotal six-point run by the Camels – with a deuce by McGovney, a three by Jackson and a Losey field goal, made it 47-37.
Campbell County knocked down 18 of 24 free throws in the final period, with Wilson swishing the last four in the final 19 seconds.
“Matt Wilson is a fabulous player,” Holbrook said. “He’s our team’s leading rebounder, and he’s only a sophomore and it’s just looking up from here for him. He’ll be big tomorrow night against Montgomery County.”
The Camels will play the defending regional champion Indians in the title game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Campbell County has only won the Region 10 tournament once, and that was 13 years ago. The Camels also won Region 9 championships in 1946 and 1960.
“This is my fourth year at Campbell, and after winning the region in 2010 at Newport it’s kind of like an addicting feeling – you keep wanting to go back,” Russell said. “I’m really happy for this opportunity and it’s great for these kids.”
HARRISON CO. 11-13- 6-23—53
CAMPBELL CO. 13-11-12-27—63
HARRISON COUNTY (15-17): D. Jenkins 6 7 19, Williams 1 0 2, Carr 1 0 2, Z. Pulliam 2 0 5, Ritchie 3 0 6, D. Pulliam 5 2 14, Thompson 1 3 5. Totals 19 12 53.
CAMPBELL COUNTY (20-8): Losey 1 3 6, McGovney 2 2 6, Wilson 4 8 16, Jackson 5 5 16, Holbrook 7 4 19. Totals 19 22 63.
3-pointers: CC—Losey, Jackson, Holbrook. HC—D. Pulliam 2, Z. Pulliam.