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Twin brothers having a Jolly good time in Rupp

March 8, 2019 FieldsColumn

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Campbell County twins Reid and Grant Jolly have been having a ball competing all their lives.

BY MIKE FIELDS

The Jolly twins – Grant and Reid – are having a ball in the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen this week, but then they’ve been having a ball playing ball – be it basketball, football, baseball or golf — whether as teammates or sibling rivals, all their lives.

The Campbell County seniors have helped the Camels win two games in the state tournament for the first time in school history. They knocked off undefeated John Hardin 61-60 on Wednesday, and followed that up with a 49-42 victory over Walton-Verona on Friday.

That puts Campbell County in the Sweet Sixteen semifinals against Trinity Saturday night in Rupp Arena.

“We’ve been talking about this forever,” Reid said. “Last year we won our first-ever game here, and since the beginning of this season we were looking to go farther. We’ve done that.”

Reid, a 6-foot-5, 195-pounder, has been the Camels’ star. He had 30 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in the win over John Hardin. He had 13 points and 12 rebounds against Walton-Verona.

(In last year’s state tournament, he averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds in two games.)

Grant, a 6-1, 180-pounder, comes off the bench. He’s played 10 minutes in each game this week and has contributed five rebounds and some hard-nosed defense.

Both brothers bring a physicality to the court — not surprising since they also played football for Campbell County.

Grant, a running back, had more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving over the last two seasons.

Reid, a wide receiver, had 99 catches for 1,400 yards and 15 TDs. (He has preferred walk-on offers from Kentucky, Cincinnati and EKU, but he still might end up playing basketball in college.)

A conversation with the Jolly brothers reveals how close they are — they finish each other’s sentences and they’re quick to share a laugh.

“We’re as close as can be, other than the fact that we argue sometimes,” Reid said with a smile.

Their mother, Tracey, said it’s been fun watching her boys grow up competing with and against each other.

“We encouraged it in our household,” she said. “Some of the videos we have of them playing football when they were 3 or 4 years old . . . things got a little rough.”

Their father Gary loved it. Their mother, not so much.

“But I guess it paid off,” she said.

Grant was born 15 minutes before Reid on Oct. 17, 2000, and their mom said Grant was always the feistier of the two.

Grant was also the taller brother through eighth-grade, then Reid hit a growth spurt.

Reid has been better in hoops as long as Grant can remember.

“I’ve definitely looked up to him in basketball,” Grant said. “Every single day we’d go out on the court and he’d be like, ‘You’re going to beat me today.’ But for years I never beat him 1-on-1.

“So we’d go at it as hard as we could day after day, and finally, finally, I beat him one time (a few years ago). That was a great day.”

Grant appreciates how much his brother has improved his basketball skills:

“His sophomore year on the varsity, he was a bigger dude and was great down low. But now he’s a great shooter, too, with fade-aways, turn-around jumpers, and threes.

“It was pretty cool to see him expand his game.”

(Truth be told, older sister Taylor was better than both of them growing up. She went on to play two years of college hoops at Thomas More. “She ruled them until they got physically bigger,” their mom said.)

The brothers also grew up in a golf family – their dad played in college, and that’s the family name on A.J. Jolly Golf Course in Alexandria. Terry Jolly, their uncle, is the pro there.

Reid said he hits it farther off the tee than Grant, but Grant’s the better scorer. Neither can hang with their dad, though.

All that the brothers have accomplished in the other sports can’t compare to reaching the final four of the Sweet Sixteen.

“My gosh, we won’t ever forget this,” Grant said.

Reid credits the team’s success to its deep roots.

“We’re all homegrown boys from Campbell County,” he said. “We’ve all played together, from AAU, high school, middle school, elementary school. And we’re not done yet.”

Tracey Jolly said the Camels’ joy ride in Rupp Arena the past few days has been “surreal.”

She knows Campbell County will be a decided underdog to Trinity in the semifinals, but she’s already gotten her wish.

“I just wanted one more game to see Grant and Reid on the court together,” she said. “It’s very special, and we’re a very blessed family for sure.”

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