With a crowd so jam-packed that every seat in the gymnasium was occupied, area rivals Ellender and H.L. Bourgeois put on a game for the ages.

When it was over, H.L. Bourgeois prevailed, 67-65, on the Patriots’ home court — the latest chapter in one of the area’s most intense basketball rivalry.

Both teams provided plenty of excitement from the opening quarter on. Neither team led by more than two possessions in the game with the exception of one brief stint in the third quarter in which H.L. Bourgeois (18-6 overall) went ahead by six.

The entire game was pure white-knuckled, fast-paced action.

Ellender closed the first quarter with an 18-17 lead. Early in the second, Braves star Anthony Rainey made a terrific move under the glass to get a basket and a three-point play after sinking a foul shot.

The Patriots purposefully milked the final seconds of the first half and drew a foul with 1.6 remaining. Kobe Hartman went to the line and sank both free throws to give Ellender a 33-31 lead at halftime.

The largest lead of the game by either team came in the third when Taihgan Poindexter sank a 3-point basket that made it 47-41 in favor of H.L. Bourgeois at the midway point of the quarter.

But Ellender quickly bounced back, getting a 3-pointer from J’Amire Mott. Askyre Anderson then stole the ball and took it to the hoop to make it a one-point game. Reginald Williams sank another basket to give Ellender a 48-47 lead and a 7-0 run. Rainey then silenced the Patriots’ crowd with a 3-pointer that made it 50-48, a combined 10 points from the two teams in less than a minute.

Hartman tied the game with a basket with 13 seconds to play in the third, making it 54-all going into the fourth quarter.

After boggling two fast-break plays down the stretch of the fourth quarter, H.L. Bourgeois’s T.J. Ruffin stole a pass and drew a foul with 8.4 seconds remaining. Ruffin proceeded to hit one of two foul shots that put the Braves ahead by one.

After a Patriots turnover on their last possession of the night, Rainey then hit another free throw with 1.7 left to make it 67-65. With Ellender inbounding the ball from the far end of the floor, Doryan Price’s desperation heave was intercepted and the Braves held on for the victory.

Rainey poured in 28 points for H.L. Bourgeois and Buggage added 12.

“We stuck around and a lot of guys played really well,” Braves coach Andrew Caillouet said. “I’m most proud of Ruffin. We told him after he boggled those two plays, ‘you’re going to make a play before this game is over,’ and he did. It was a nip-and-tuck game the whole night. If you were a fan, I don’t think you can be disappointed. This is why people turn out to see Ellender and H.L.B. games; because they’re always great games.”

Hartman led Ellender (6-12 overall) with 18 points, Marquie Mosley had 17 and Frank Robinson added 10.

“We had too many turnovers and that hurt us,” Patriots coach Cornell Scott said. “It’s tough to come up on the losing end. We’re finally becoming healthy. We got (Mosley) back and I see a change in our conditioning. Everybody I have that’s playing right now had been on the football field except for Marquie, and he’d been hurt so we are getting there. It’s too bad it’s taken this long, but with our schedule that we have, I think we’ll be all right as far as getting into the playoffs.”

ELLENDER 59, H.L. BOURGEOIS 21 (GIRLS)

At Houma, the Lady Patriots led 28-3 after the first quarter, 40-7 at halftime and 50-13 after three quarters en route to the victory.

Trenace Alexandra had 12 points for Ellender and Maya Steward had seven.