Wayne stuns Centerville in Cupps’ home debut

Wayne junior guard Malcolm Curry
Centerville senior forward Mo Njie
Centerville sophomore forward Rich Rolf
Centerville freshman guard Gabe Cupps
Centerville sophomore forward Kebba Njie

Centerville, OH — It was a battle between two GWOC heavyweights on Friday night. The highly anticipated matchup between freshman Gabe Cupps and Lawrent Rice did not disappoint. Cupps finished with 10 points and Rice with 8. Gabe Cupps grew very popular over the summer after being posted on ESPN, Overtime, Bleacher Report, and other major media outlets after playing Bronny James’s Blue Chips team and playing LeBron himself in a three-point competition. Lawrent Rice already had an offer from Ohio University before ever stepping foot on a varsity basketball court and he has not disappointed this season at all. He’s averaged 9 points over Wayne’s first five games this season. In the first quarter, Wayne guard Malcolm Curry got the game started with a giant swat and that gave Wayne the early momentum. Centerville’s Rich Rolf would get the scoring started with a quick layup to put the Elks up 2-0 early, Big man Mo Njie then electrified the crowd with a massive dunk. Njie currently has offers from Dayton, Providence, Toledo, and Xavier. Centerville and Wayne both double teamed and face guarded the duo of talented freshman, that led for other opportunities for lesser-known players. One of those players for Wayne was Ben Palma who had 9 points on the night and hit a big three in the first quarter to give Wayne the lead. Centerville battled back though, Kebba Njie led the Elks to a 17-12 lead at the end of one. The second quarter was some of the same story, Cam Fancher blocked Rich Rolf twice before Rolf finally found the bottom of the rim and scored. Gabe Cupps then hit a giant three, and the Centerville student section went wild. The Elks continued to connect on threes and Cupps ended the half with an and-one which put Centerville up nine going into the break. Njie took over in the third quarter as he had a dunk and two massive chase-down blocks. The crowd chanted “Mo says no,” after the second block. Fancher and Curry led the Warriors back into the game though as the score at the end of the third was 40-38 in advantage of the Elks. Wayne then tied the game as James Cammon connected on a three to tie the game at 41 apiece. Njie then had a pair of big dunks to give the Elks back the lead, Ben Palma and Damiene Boles stepped up down the stretch as they both got shots to fall to tie the game with 30 seconds left. Then with the game on the line, Centerville gave the ball down low to Njie, who was being closely guarded by Palma. Njie went up for the shot and the refs called a shooting foul on Palma. A foul that many Wayne fans thought was a clean block. Both of his free-throws bounced in-and-out and after the second one with 17 seconds left, Rich Rolf was called for an over-the-back foul as he tried to get the rebound over Damiene Boles Jr. This sent Boles to the line as Wayne was in the double bonus. He would go on to make both free throws to give Wayne a two-point lead. Then, senior Andre Zimmerman drove the length of the court and his shot was rejected by Malcolm Curry. Zimmerman got his own rebound and Brook Cupps took his last timeout. With 7.5 seconds left and down by two, Centerville gave the ball inside to Rich Rolf. His shot was rejected by Brendan Hill. Rolf got his own rebound before the ball was tipped out to Gabe Cupps. Cupps was open for the possible game-tying shot but it rattled in and out and the Wayne Warriors stunned the Centerville Elks in a GWOC heavyweight battle between two really well-coached teams. Mo Njie finished with 17 points for Centerville, while Cupps finished with 10, Rolf with 10, and Kebba Njie with 9. For Wayne, Malcolm Curry and Ben Palma led them in scoring as they both went for 9, Lawrent Rice finished with 8. Wayne returns to action on the 20th, as they will host GWOC rival Springfield and Centerville’s next game will be on the 17th against Fairmont.

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