BIDDEFORD — A strong start to the season is nothing new for the Thornton Academy girls’ basketball team.

Winning with fast-break basketball and with Ashley Howe scoring more than 20 points is something new.

With sophomore point guard Alexandra Hart at the reins, the Golden Trojans ran the court for a bundle of quick and easy baskets Monday in a 58-27 win against outmatched Biddeford.

Thornton, which is in the new Class AA South division, improved to 4-0. Biddeford, which is in Class A South, fell to 0-4.

“We’re trying to look to get out and run any chance we get, and the girls have responded well to that approach at the offensive end,” Thornton Coach Eric Marston said.

It helps that Hart has the court awareness to equal to her track speed as a state champion sprinter.

“I feel like we are playing as a team and pushing the pace together,” Hart said.

Howe, a 5-foot-10 senior forward who recently committed to play for Connecticut College, was an integral part of Thornton’s success the previous three seasons, primarily because she could defend taller players in the post and stick to the SMAA’s most dynamic players on the wing.

But Howe showed she can make it tough on opponents at both ends of the court. She scored 13 points in the first quarter as Thornton rolled to a 22-6 lead and finished with 23 points in just three quarters.

Some of Howe’s offense came from her familiar role as a rebounder. She scored on drives, finishing with both hands. She drew fouls and made 7 of 7 free throws.

In the third quarter, Howe knocked down two 3-pointers, prompting a Biddeford player to say “she can shoot” loud enough for fans in the upper rows to hear.

“Coach has been talking to me and saying I need to be more of an offensive threat,” Howe said. “This was like my breakout game, basically. I’ve always been more of just an outside shooter, but now I’m thinking (shoot or drive) every time I catch the ball.”

For Biddeford, the improvement needs to be day-to-day and incremental.

Second-year coach Liz Bell has an inexperienced team. Injuries to returning sophomore point guard Brooke Davis (concussion) and freshman guard Grace Martin (knee) put the Tigers at a further disadvantage.

“Those are two kids that are contributors out there, and so we’re throwing a lot of younger kids into the fire,” Bell said. “I looked around the locker room at halftime and came to the realization that I have two girls that have any varsity experience.”

Bell said she is hopeful that “after Christmas” she’ll have her full complement of players to help take some of the production strain off her two veterans – Brittany Roy (15 points) and Charlotte White (four points). Roy is being asked to play out of position at point guard.

Down 34-10 at halftime, Biddeford came out tenaciously to start the third quarter, battling for rebounds and loose balls.

“We meet (as coaches) at every halftime and our goal today was to not let the girls give up,” Bell said. “It’s a good opportunity to build some character, as well as some learning experience.”