It was a battle of reigning state champion girls basketball teams Wednesday night in Houma when Ellender hosted Parkview Baptist.

The Class 4A champion Lady Patriots opened the game with 21 unanswered points en route to a 71-36 victory over the Division II champion Lady Eagles.

Morghan Frierson sparked Ellender with 21 points, along with 16 points from Orieon James. Aaliyah Cyprian led Parkview Baptist with 17 points.

“They’re getting better organized and listening to what I’m telling them. I just have to be more patient and be repetitious,” Lady Patriots coach Kenneth Dixon said. “We lost two in a row to very good teams, John Curtis and Ponchatoula. We were anxious to get back on the court.”

“I’m never happy with a loss, but we’re a very young team. We graduated six seniors off that championship team,” Lady Eagles coach Christina Anderson said. “They got to grow up. My goal for them is just not to stop. They never stopped fighting; they played until the end.”

Ellender (6-2 overall) came out the gate with 21 straight points. Frierson scored the first 10 points on free throws, transition layup and a pair of corner 3-pointers. Trastasia Hester (nine points) added 3-pointer from the top of the arc. A 3-pointer by Meghan Williams (nine points) kept the Lady Eagles from being shutout in the first quarter.

Ellender continued to roll in second quarter. James and Terris McKay each scored six points, and the Lady Patriots made free throws as they took a 38-10 lead into halftime.

“Morghan has the game do that. The thing is I want her to do it for four quarters. I need it consistently, game-to-game,” Dixon said. “We’re catching on defensively. We’re doing our assignments much better. Parkview Baptist had a little trouble with the defense we play. We took away those wing passes they’re used to making.”

“We had a lack of execution. It was not supposed to be a track race. I knew what they were working worth as far as fast break, transition points,” Anderson said. “We didn’t force them to run a half court set. We didn’t follow our game plan. That’s how we got into a deep hole early.”

Parkview Baptist (3-4) tried to claw back into the game with defense and perimeter shooting. Cyprian scored 14 points in the quarter to pull the Lady Eagles within 51-27.

However, Ellender got hot from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. Frierson drained consecutive 3-pointers from the wing, and J’Lisha Holly scored nine points in the period to push the Lady Patriots advantage back up.

“We were too quick off the dribble and not giving the plays a chance to develop. We were street balling,” Anderson said. “Making stops is how you get back in the game. Our goal was give me two stops, three buckets. They did that a little bit early in the third. Consistency is something we have to keep working on.”

“What I got them to do is take their time, set their feet, do it right. Be fundamentally sound and you’ll have much more success,” Dixon said. “We weren’t challenged on the perimeter like some other teams can. We took our time and got our legs under us. They think it’s a leg thing, but it’s a leg thing. Our problem is we’re in a hurry. We got to do the simple things that make it right.”