STATE CHAMPS: Centerville wins first boys basketball title

Elks edge Westerville Central 43-42 in Division I championship game

Gabe Cupps scored 16 points and Centerville survived a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to win its first Division I boys basketball championship with a 43-42 victory over Westerville Central on Sunday night at UD Arena.

»PHOTOS: Centerville vs. Westerville Central

The Elks (25-3) led most of the game but fell behind 39-34 with 5:42 left. The Elks responded with a 9-0 run to take a 43-39 lead. Central had to inbound with 2.3 seconds left on the baseline after a Centerville foul. Landon Tillman got off an off-balance shot from the right corner over Rich Rolf. When the shot missed the buzzer sounded and the Elks were champions.

»RELATED: Late run, stingy defense ‘perfect ending’ for Elks

The Elks led 22-18 at the half, but Central rallied to take a 28-26 lead off an Elks turnover. Centerville responded with an 8-5 advantage to close the third quarter up 34-31. Cupps hit a 3-pointer and a floater for a three-point play to put his team ahead.

Cutline: Centerville High School sophomore Gabe Cupps shoots the ball over Westerville Central's Donovan Hunter during the Division I state championship game on Sunday night at UD Arena. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED
Cutline: Centerville High School sophomore Gabe Cupps shoots the ball over Westerville Central's Donovan Hunter during the Division I state championship game on Sunday night at UD Arena. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Centerville grabbed an early 5-0 lead on a Rolf 3-pointer and Tre Johnson layup. Cupps scored eight of the Elks next 10 points on two 3-pointers and a pull-up jumper to build a 15-11 lead after the first quarter.

»STATE SEMIFINALS: Centerville tops undefeated Mentor

With the score tied at 15 early in the second quarter, Cupps hit a 15-footer, Tom House made a 3-pointer and Rolf scored inside on a feed from Cupps to go up 22-15. A 3-pointer by Central trimmed the lead to four at the half.

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