Ellender wins its own tourney title

Justin Johnson of Ellender grabs a rebound Saturday night in the Patriots' victory over Morgan City. (Photo by Chris Heller/Staff)

Morgan City was in a position to play the spoiler role and steal the Patriot Classic trophy from host team Ellender on Saturday.

The Tigers kept it close through three-and-a-half quarters and trailed only by three points with nearly 2 minutes left in the game.

But a couple of missed free throws, turnovers, foul trouble and defensive breakdowns hurt the Tigers down the stretch.

And Ellender sealed the deal by hitting 8-of-10 free throws late to pull away with a 58-51 win in the championship game of the Patriot Classic in Houma.

The game was a back-and-forth affair between the longtime District 8-4A rivals, and with both teams knowing each other very well, Ellender coach Cornell Scott said he was happy just to get a win on Saturday.

“It feels good to win our tournament,” Ellender coach Cornell Scott said. “Our players have been working hard. The win wasn’t too pretty, but anytime you play Morgan City, they always play hard, so we were just trying to counter to what they are doing to get the win.”

After Ellender (8-4 overall) took leads of 16-9 at the end of the first quarter and 29-23 at halftime, Morgan City’s Tyrin Watts turned it on in the third quarter to get the Tigers (7-5) back in it.

Watts, who scored a game-high 19 points, dashed past the Patriots defense and scored several big baskets in the paint that allowed the Tigers to take a 39-38 lead with 2:43 left in the third quarter.

Morgan City also got to the foul lane often in the period, hitting 8-of-11 free throws, which helped it cut Ellender’s lead to 43-42 at the end of the third quarter. 

Ellender, which made 23-of-29 free throws overall in the game, got two foul shots from Justin Johnson to put its lead at 50-43 with 3:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Morgan City got a jumper from Zack Mink and a layup from Watts to cut it to 50-47 with 2:10 left to play.

That was the closest the Tigers would get, as they turned the ball over on their next two possessions.

Ellender outscored Morgan City, 15-7, in the fourth quarter to get the win. In the final period, the Tigers (13-of-22 total free throws) committed six of their 18 team turnovers and made only 1-of-5 free throws.

Scott said the Patriots have stepped it up in the fourth quarter all season, and Saturday’s game was no exception.

“That’s why we rely on our bench,” Scott said. “We’ve been wearing teams down. In the fourth quarter, we assert ourselves. We are doing what we want to do in clutch time.”

Cameron Parfait led Ellender with 17 points, while Johnson had 13 points and Eric Welch scored 10 points.

When Morgan City threatened late in the fourth quarter, Parfait said the Patriots were determined to fight hard until the end because they didn’t want to lose their own tournament championship.  

“We came out fighting and strived for victory,” Parfait said. “We just kept telling each other to play smart, make better passes and don’t panic. We just stuck it out, stayed positive about it and worried about what we had to do. That’s how we played, and we got a victory from that. We’re happy to get the win.”

Jaylen Jones added 10 points for the Tigers.

Morgan City coach Jeremy Whittington declined comment after the game.



At the Patriot Classic, the Terriers (7-3) got 15 points from Lionheart Leslie and 13 points from Elijah McGuire to win the third-place game over South Lafourche.

Vandebilt led 16-5 after the first quarter, 32-24 at halftime and 46-33 at the end of the third quarter.

Payton Barrios scored 11 points for the Terriers, and Chase Hutchinson added six points.

Treavon Evans led the Tarpons (7-3) with 16 points, while Devin Comardelle had six points.



At the Patriot Classic, the Braves (9-3) jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter and held off a second-half rally by the Mustangs to win the consolation game of the tournament.

H.L. Bourgeois led 15-2 at the end of the first quarter, 29-19 at halftime and 37-35 at the end of the third quarter. Isaac Allridge led H.L. Bourgeois with 15 points, and other leading scorers were Marlin Bonvillain (nine points) and Ocean Jasper and Chris Harris with eight points each.

Kenyatta Charles led Assumption (2-8) with 17 points, while Malik Mills scored 14 points and Coy Smith had 10 points.