Moeller’s stifling defense kept Centerville without a field goal for one second shy of 11 minutes, from Gabe Cupps’s driving layup at 4:22 of the first quarter that tied the score at 5-5 to his 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:23 left in the second quarter. The Crusaders used the slump to put together a 20-2 run, opening up a commanding 25-7 lead.
The Elks finished the half shooting 20 percent (3-of-15) from the field, including 12.5 percent (1-of-8) on 3-pointers. The Crusaders shot a blistering 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the field while outscoring Centerville, 16-4, in the paint and forcing nine Elks turnovers, including two steals at midcourt that led to dunks on back-to-back possessions midway through the second quarter by Land and Williams.
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Led by Cupps’s four points, the Elks scored as many points in the third quarter as the squeezed out in the entire first half, cutting Moeller’s lead from 24 points with 5:41left in th the quarter to 20 by the end of the period.
Coach Cupps described the post-game locker room as emotional.
“It always is when you’re playing for the last time – when the seniors play their last game,” he said. “We thanked the seniors for what they accomplished. We were outright (Greater Western Ohio Conference) champs. We won back-to-back district championships. You try to recognize that. You know it happens during the season, but you’re always moving on to the next game. We thanked the seniors for helping bring the young kids along, and we remind the younger guys of what they need to do to accomplish what they want to accomplish – that they have to double down on their commitment.”