Thornton Academy’s 50-33 win Tuesday over South Portland provided another indication that the Golden Trojans are the team to beat in Western Class A girls’ basketball.

The game also demonstrated another trend: More and more freshmen are ready to compete right away at the varsity level.

Both Thornton and South Portland are using freshman guards who have shown they are neither timid nor passive.

Thornton’s spindly freshman point guard, Alexandra Hart, was particularly impressive for what she didn’t do.

“She is extremely confident with the ball. She just doesn’t turn it over,” said Thornton Coach Eric Marston.

South Portland was certainly trying to cause turnovers with its aggressive, switching, man-to-man defense with its own freshmen – starting guard Megan Graff and reserve guard Abby Cavallaro.

Hart’s ability to handle on-the-ball pressure and set up the offense has allowed senior Katie McCrum – a fine point guard in her own right – to look for her own shot more.

Marston said he developed trust in Hart’s skills and passion for basketball before she even reached the high school.

“She’s been playing on and off for us in the summer for a long time,” Marston said. “Really, the sky’s the limit for her.”

Hart is not being asked to score much for Thornton (4-0). That’s because the Trojans have a low-post scorer in Victoria Lux, along with McCrum, veteran forwards Ashley Howe and Abigail Strickland, and a deep bench.

Still, she showed she can get to the basket against South Portland – and that she would not be deterred by a few near misses.

In the second quarter, as Thornton struggled and fell behind 21-10, Hart was 0 for 5 from the field.

“When that happens I give her a big pep talk,” Lux said. “I just tell her, it’s OK to be nervous. I’m still nervous and I’m a senior. It’s just that you have to control the nerves and the game.”

In the second half, Hart swished a mid-range jumper and finished in traffic with a scoop shot.

South Portland Coach Lynne Hasson has similar praise for her freshmen.

“I don’t think my freshmen play like freshmen,” Hasson said. “They’re pretty confident kids and I’m confident playing them.”

Alex Goodman is another freshman making a big impact, albeit in less-publicized venues. Goodman is in her second season as the do-it-all player for Pine Tree Academy of Freeport and had a huge game last Thursday at defending Western Maine champion Forest Hills of Jackman.

Pine Tree avenged its regional semifinal loss to the Tigers, holding on for a 39-35 win. Goodman scored 29 points with 18 rebounds.

Earlier in the season, she had a quadruple-double (27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and 10 steals) in a win against Greater Portland Christian.

THE RED CLAWS holiday tournament, featuring boys’ and girls’ teams from southern Maine and other states, will be held Dec. 26, 27 and 29 at the Portland Expo and the Portland High gym.

This is the first time the tournament is being played at two sites. It will include three out-of-state teams – boys’ squads from New Dorp High and McKee Technical High of Staten Island, New York and a girls’ team from Londonderry High in New Hampshire.

Two boys’ games will be counted as regular-season contests: On Dec. 27, Bonny Eagle will play Marshwood at 5 p.m., followed by Gorham and Deering at 6:30. Bonny Eagle and Gorham are giving a home game to get an extra game at the Expo, where the quarterfinal rounds of the Western Class A and B tournaments will be played.

The Scarborough and Falmouth girls and Thornton Academy and Londonderry girls open the Classic with noon games Dec. 26 at the Expo and Portland High, respectively. At the Expo, the Portland girls will play Londonderry at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 26. At Portland High at the same time, boys’ teams from Wells and New Dorp will play.

The first boys’ games at the Expo will be at 3 p.m. Dec. 26, when Portland plays Yarmouth. Meanwhile, Cape Elizabeth plays McKee Tech at Portland High. In total, there will be 25 games in the tournament.

FALMOUTH’S Jack Simonds, a two-time All-State selection, made his college choice known last week last week via Twitter: Bowdoin College. The 6-foot-5 forward helped the Yachtsmen win the Class B state title as a sophomore. He scored 19 points in the regional final against York that season and added 21 points against Medomak Valley in the state final. Last season, he averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds. Simonds has outstanding range on his jumper, and with his size he’s also a threat inside.

Simonds didn’t play in a 75-58 loss to Poland on Tuesday, as he was sitting out the game after getting two technical fouls in Falmouth’s previous game against Wells.

NATE WESSEL of Scarborough has missed the last three games because of a high ankle sprain but could play Friday night when the Red Storm host Massabesic. Wessel has been shooting at practice. Asked what it would mean to have Wessel back in the lineup, Coach Tony DiBiase said succinctly: “18 points a game.”

That’s approximately what Wessel averaged last year, and what he scored in the team’s first game on Dec. 5.

– Staff Writer Tom Chard contributed to this report.