Friday, January 21, 2000

Campbell County matures into winner

Enquirer contributor

        Campbell County boys basketball coach Dan Sullivan wonders why fans suddenly consider him a genius.

        He's not complaining. The Camels are pulling off the most surprising one-year turnaround in Northern Kentucky this season — a 12-3 record and a current nine-game winning streak, after going 8-20 last year.

        Sullivan knows where the credit goes.

        “Our kids have matured,” he said. “Four of our starters are back. We've done the same things in the offseason. We lifted (weights) pretty regularly. ... We went to team camp. The kids felt they'd be good.”

        Sophomore center Kevin Reinhardt said his team was just sick of the way things were going.

        “We have more confidence,” Reinhardt said. “We're playing as a team. ... I just think we were tired of losing. We knew we were better than we were playing. Everybody took it personally.”

        After a 3-3 start, Campbell County's run has included such stalwarts as Harrison County, Bishop Brossart, Covington Catholic and Holmes. The result: the No. 4 spot in the Enquirer's coaches poll.

        The streak almost ended three times:

        • In a 47-46 win over Montgomery County Jan. 8 in the finals of the Mason County Invitational, Reinhardt scored the winning basket on a putback at the buzzer.

        • The Camels needed overtime against Bishop Brossart to secure a 65-55 win in the semifinals the night before.

        • And in a 64-59 overtime win Tuesday over Holmes, the Camels blew a 20-point, third-quarter lead.

        In addition, CovCath and Harrison County were ranked first in the Ninth and 10th regions, respectively, at the beginning of the year, and the victories over CovCath and Holmes were the first of each in Sullivan's tenure.

        “We knew we were best team in the region,” Reinhardt said. “Now we have to prove it.”

        Campbell County's statistics don't immediately stand out. Reinhardt's averages of 14.5 points and 6.1 rebounds are well down the local scoring list, as are senior center Robby Turner's 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds.

        Unsung heroes abound. Junior guard Brandon Minch has 54 assists, and fellow junior guard Steve Sigmon has 53 assists and 22 steals.

        “Everybody knows their role,” Turner said.

        Sullivan talks about Turner's strength and improved communication with teammates and Reinhardt's development on the court.

        “(Turner) was much more interested in us as a team and being a leader and communicating with players,” Sullivan said. “That, and he can pick up small horses with his hands.

        “(Reinhardt's) a special player; he came along quicker than any freshman did. There's not a thing he can't do.”

        A sign above a hallway reads “March 2000 — Where Do You Want to Be?” The Camels think they could be at Rupp Arena as the 10th Region champs.

        “If everybody does what they're supposed to do,” Turner said, “we win.”


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