DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – After leading the best three-year stretch in Centerville boys basketball history, senior Gabe Cupps’ final game for the Elks is a heartbreaking 57-53 defeat to rival Pickerington Central in the Div. 1 state semifinal on Saturday night at UD Arena.

“I feel like, you know, that wasn’t the way it was supposed to end. But, you know, at the end of the day, I’m just grateful to be in a program and be with guys that I really care about,” said Gabe Cupps.

The end of the Gabe Cupps-era in Centerville is even more emotional for head coach Brook Cupps, Gabe’s father, who praised his son following the loss.

“The leadership is I mean, it’s off the charts. Like, it’s off the charts. I’ve coached for 25 years. Nobody’s even even been remotely close to it. Like, he’s just impacted so many things in our program,” said Brook Cupps.

Cupps, 2022 Ohio’s Mr. Basketball, recorded 22 points, 7 assists and 4 steals. Emmanuel Deng added 9 points.

The semifinal was a rematch of last year’s Div. 1 state championship, which went to the Tigers. In 2021, Centerville captured the program’s first-ever state title.

But in the Elks’ third-straight and third overall final four appearance, they came up just short to Pickerington Central who was led by this year’s Ohio’s Mr. basketball Devin Royal who had 23 points.

Centerville finishes another impressive season with a 25-4 overall record.