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Braves edge Patriots in overtime


H.L. Bourgeois’ Ocean Jasper (right) blocks Ellender’s Cameron Parafait’s layup attempt during Friday’s game in Gray. (Photo by Keyon K. Jeff/Correspondent)


GRAY — Thirty-two minutes wasn't enough to contain the action between Ellender and H.L. Bourgeois Friday night.

In a game that featured 10 ties and nine lead changes, the Braves finally pulled away with a 3-pointer from Teren Morris midway through overtime to secure a 74-68 nondistrict victory over the Patriots.

"It was a good high school basketball game. We're just happy to get a win," said Braves coach Andrew Caillouet. "(Ellender) took us out of what we wanted to do, but the bottom line is somehow we found a way to finish. It's good to be a team like that."

Ellender (9-5) got off to a quick start, knocking down four 3-pointers in the first quarter against Bourgeois' 3-2 zone defense. The Patriots took their biggest lead of the game at 19-12 and led 19-14 after the period.

"I have so many penetrators that defenses collapse in on them," Ellender coach Cornell Scott said. "Once they collapse we have open guys, and those threes are just like layups to them. Hopefully our shooters were have a good night."

The Braves (11-3, 1-0 district) scored seven straight points to begin the second quarter, capped by a Marlon Bonvillain (11 points) 3-pointer, to take the lead 21-19. Bourgeois led by as much as six points before Ellender rallied to tie the game at 35. In the waning seconds of the quarter, Cameron Parafait (26 points) stole and made the layup to give Ellender a 37-35 halftime advantage.

H.L. Bourgeois made a concerted effort to get into the paint and get to the foul line in the second half. Isaac Allridge scored 16 of his 22 points from the free throw line. For the game, the Braves converted 27-of-33, while Ellender made 16-of-23.

"It hurt us that we were settling for too many threes. A lot of them were good shots but they just weren't falling, and we were getting tired," Caillouet said. "I thought in the second half we did a great job attacking. I wish we would have played like that the whole way through."

H.L. Bourgeois used the foul line to regain and build a 47-42 advantage with two minutes left in the period. But back-to-back baskets by Parafait tied the contest at 47. With the clock ticking down, Ellender's Eric Welch (11 points) used a hesitation dribble drive to get past an H.L. Bourgeois defender and sank a floater in the lane to give the Patriots a 50-49 lead heading into the final quarter.

Consecutive 3-pointers from Parafait and Justin Johnson (10 points) increased the Patriots lead to 60-54. However, the Braves scored six straight in under a minute, capped by a Morris (11 points) steal and layup, to tie the game at 60 with exactly four minutes remaining.

Ellender held a two-point lead with just over a minute left when Allridge made a steal at half court. He threw the ball up court to Morris for a layup that tied the game at 64 and sent the contest into overtime.

"Defensively we have to play without fouling," Scott said. "We get into foul trouble early. That kind of changes the way we play at the end of games."

In the extra period, Parafait nailed a jumper at the top of the key to give Ellender a one-point lead. On the ensuing possession, Morris swished the game-winning three from the right wing. Allridge sealed the Braves win with six straight free throws.

This was second nail biter Braves win over Ellender this month. H.L. Bourgeois defeated the Patriots 74-70 on Dec. 7.

Both coaches said these close battles show how evenly matched the squads are.

"H.L. plays just like us: pressure defense and work hard," Scott said. "When you have these two teams that like to compete, you're going to have these types of games."

"It's a good battle between two good teams. You get the ebb and flow, and basketball is a game of runs," Caillouet said. "We each had a lot of mini runs. Hopefully that shows the evenness of where are two programs are and a sign that both teams really good."