Despite graduating several key players from last year’s Division I state championship team, the John Curtis girls opened defense of their Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic title with a solid 54-37 victory over Ellender Wednesday evening at the Alario Center.

In a battle of Patriots, Curtis jumped out to a quick 19-8 lead after one quarter and maintained a 25-16 lead at halftime. Ellender went on a 6-0 run to pull within 25-22 to start the third quarter but Curtis answered with a 7-0 run to stretch the lead to 32-22 and led 37-28 after three quarters.

John Curtis pulled away in the fourth quarter to advance.

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