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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Highlands Grad Guiding Lady Camels in Great Direction

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Campbell County Lady Camel Head Coach Beau Menefee reacts during a game in December against Highlands.
Beau Menefee's basketball coaching career has taken him to various places around Campbell County.

But the 1991 Highlands graduate and former player is excelling at his latest stop in Alexandria. Menefee is in his second season as the head coach of the Campbell County Lady Camel program and has a combined record of 33-16 so far.

The Lady Camels finished 22-11 last year in his first season and won the 37th District championship before losing a tight 60-56 contest to eventual 10th Region champion and state semifinalist Mason County in the region semifinals. The Lady Camels went 10-17 the previous year and did not even make it to the region tournament.

Campbell County hopes to get back to the region tournament and win it this time around. The Lady Camels last won the 10th Region in 2003. But Mason County returns about everyone and has a new head coach in Brad Cox.

"It's burning deep down in their souls," Menefee said. "That's been the torch we've been carrying since we lost that game. (Mason County) is a great team. It's going to take a great night to beat them, but we know we can do it. That's the plan."

The Campbell County administration knew about Menefee when he applied for the open job in 2014. He'd previously been an assistant on the Campbell County boys staff under current Head Coach Aric Russell.

"Beau's got a long resume of success," said Steve Hensley,  Campbell County Director of Athletics. "We're excited that he's our girls head coach. We were familiar with and had a relationship with Beau. We felt really positive about having him on the staff."

Menfee had been an assistant, junior varsity and freshman boys coach at Highlands the three previous years. The first two came when Mike Flynn was head coach and he remained on staff when Kevin Listerman became the head coach in 2013.

But he does bring some head coaching experience to Alexandria. He served as head coach of the Bellevue Tigers boys' program during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons going 16-35 overall. The Tigers have struggled to get out of the rugged 36th District that Newport Central Catholic has won seven years in a row.

Despite transitioning to coaching girls, Menefee said he does not coach them any different than boys. Having played for former Highlands Head Coach Ken Shields, Menefee starts things with physical man-to-man defense. In its 11-5 start that includes a 32-25 win at Highlands on Dec. 21, Campbell County is averaging just under 56 points a game offensively and allowing an average of about 47.5.

"Our defense is exceptional. We work on it all the time in practice," said Kylie Kramer, Campbell County senior guard. "That's one of the key things we do really well."

Campbell County has five seniors on the squad. Senior guard Taylor Jolly leads the Lady Camels averaging 14.5 points per game and sophomore guard Taylor Clos is next at 12.1 a game. Menefee agreed that solid team chemistry is as important to success as anything.

"We spend a lot of time together," Menefee said. "We preach to work together on offense and on defense. No one is above the team and no one is necessary. That was an old Bill Petty quote when I played for him in the early 1990s. That's what we live by."

Campbell County was ranked fifth in the recent Northern Kentucky Coaches poll behind Holmes, Ryle, Highlands and Simon Kenton. Menefee recently questioned a poll from weeks ago after the win at Highlands.

"We will more than likely go down in the polls. Other teams will likely move up," Menefee said. "I think we dropped behind two teams that we beat so I don't really know why they even have the polls because I look at that thing and think, 'Who's voting on this thing?' It doesn't really matter."

Campbell County next plays Friday at Nicholas County. Game time is 7:30 p.m. in Carlisle.

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