Centerville anything but sluggish in season opener

Rolf leads Elks with 22 points in 80-46 win over Beavercreek

One would expect a team coming off a two-week shutdown with just two practices before its first game to be a little sluggish. Centerville looked fine-tuned Friday following 48 hours of instruction.

Employing a persistent full court man-to-man defense and getting a career-high 22 points from junior Rich Rolf, the Elks beat host Beavercreek 80-46 in a Greater Western Ohio Conference clash of programs that earned the top two seeds in last year’s Division I Dayton sectional.

It was Centerville’s fifth straight win over the Beavers (1-3, 1-2).

“The convenient excuse is to say we didn’t have a summer, but did they have a summer?” Beavercreek head coach Steve Pittman said. “No one had a summer. There was no AAU, no team camps, nothing. We were able to get some structured workouts in, but we’re all in the same boat. I know they haven’t practiced as much as they’d like.”

“I can’t complain (with the outcome),” Centerville head coach Brook Cupps said. “Our guys were ready to compete for sure. We got a taste of it with some scrimmages, but we were definitely chomping at the bit.”

Centerville (1-0, 1-0) set the tone from the tip.

Forcing 14 first half turnovers, the Elks owned leads of 24-11 after the first quarter and 44-22 at half.

Rolf scored 15 of his game-high 22 in the opening quarters as Centerville drilled six 3s (four different players).

Fifteen first-half fouls were the lone negative for the Elks, who never trailed. Beavercreek was in the double-bonus with six minutes left in the second quarter, but hit just nine-of-17 first half free throws. The Beavers were 17-of-28 for the game. Centerville was 17-of-29.

Fouls also affected Beavercreek as senior Siloam Baldwin (leading scorer) and 6-foot-8 junior post Gabe Phillips picked up their fourth fouls less than three minutes into the third quarter.

Centerville forced 10 third quarter turnovers and led 58-28 entering the fourth.

Creek had 26 turnovers total.

“I guarantee when I break this film down it’s going to be more than that,” Pittman said. “Some forced, some unforced, but a turnover is a turnover.”

“Without (graduated 6-9) Mo (Njie) we’ve adjusted a little how we play and what we want to do,” Cupps said of the full-court pressure. “We’re just trying to use our depth, length and willingness to guard. We’re trying to make every possession tough.”

The Beavers were playing without standout junior and returning first team All-GWOC performer Adam Duvall, who suffered a right-foot injury (plantar fasciitis) in the first quarter of a recent loss to Northmont. Sporting a boot Friday, Duvall is expected to return before January.

“It wouldn’t have mattered (if he played),” Pittman said. “He wouldn’t have made up 34 points.”

Junior Tom House added 13 points for Centerville, while senior Tre Johnson had 11 and sophomore Gabe Cupps nine.

The Elks hit 11 three-pointers. The Beavers drained one.

Sophomore Kyle Putnam led Creek with 11 points.

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