“It just feels really good that I’m someone that my teammates can look to to hit shots like that,” Powell said.
When Powell transferred from Chaminade Julienne after last season and enrolled at Centerville in the spring, he started working out with Gabe Cupps, last year’s Mr. Basketball who led the Elks to a state title in 2021 and to another state final appearance last year. That means working in the gym early in the morning and just about any other time they can make the time.
“I have have full confidence in him that if he takes good shots, he’s going to shoot over 50% from three,” said Cupps, who scored 12 points and kept the Elks close with eight in the first half. “It was really good to see that his work paid off and he trusted it enough.”
The Elks (11-2) beat SoCal in this event for the second straight year, but the bigger accomplishment to them was bouncing back from a Friday night loss at home to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.
“We wanted the taste of losing on Friday out of our mouth for sure,” Elks coach Brook Cupps said. “They expect to win when they play. Their goal is to bring a constant edge and collectively push the standard. Our standard is pretty high right now, so if you’re going to push our standard, you’ve got to be approaching excellence.”
“It lit a fire in us, like we’re not good enough to win the state right now,” Gabe Cupps said of Friday’s loss. “Everybody felt that and realized that we need to get better if we want to accomplish that.”
The fight the Elks showed in the second half to shut down a super-athletic team with height — a 6-foot-11 and 7-footer inside — and long and super-quick guards, made Brook Cupps crack a big smile.
“I would say tough, passionate, unified and thankful,” he said, reciting his program’s core values. “That’s a good answer isn’t it?”
Cupps said he hopes his team is turning the corner of playing to those values more consistently as the season enters the second half.
“We really guarded and made it tough for them, but we’ve got guys that can do that,” he said. “That’s part of who we are. And it’s fun to coach because those guys want to compete. They’re not backing down.”