Biddeford’s Carter Edgerton goes up for a shot during a game against Thornton Academy earlier this season. Edgerton and the Tigers will open the playoffs on Saturday night. Maureen Grandmaison Photography

Biddeford’s Carter Edgerton goes up for a shot during a game against Thornton Academy earlier this season. Edgerton and the Tigers will open the playoffs on Saturday night. Maureen Grandmaison Photography

BIDDEFORD — Just a few years ago the Biddeford boys basketball program was really struggling. The Tigers won just two games in a three-year span from 2013 to 2015 and a trip to the postseason wasn’t even in the realm of possibility.

Fast forward two years and not only are the Tigers (15-3) back in the playoffs for a second straight season, they are the No. 2 seed in the Class A South playoffs and head into the tournament riding a 10-game winning streak.

The 15 wins in the regular season are the highest for any Biddeford team since 1966 and have the Tigers in an unfamiliar position.

“It’s definitely a new situation for us,” said Biddeford head coach Justin Tardif on being the second seed. “Biddeford basketball is used to, when we make the playoffs, we’re used to being the seven or eight seed trying to pull the upset and not being the two or three seed that’s expected to win.”

Tardif is making sure his team stays focused as they head to the Expo on Saturday night for a quarterfinal showdown with No. 7 Brunswick.

“I think we’re kind of just taking it one game at a time, one day at a time and just going through it,” Tardif said.

One way Tardif has made sure his team is preparing the right way for the playoffs is by making them forget about the regular season.

“We gave them the day off (Wednesday), and it was good, it allowed us to kind of reset. We talked about how Monday was kind of the first practice of the year,” said Tardif. “We went over our practice expectations, game expectations, we went over our four goals so we kind of tried to treat it as a brand new season.”

The players have certainly bought into what their coach is selling.

“It was definitely great to end our (regular) season that way,” said junior Carter Edgerton. “It’s probably the perfect way to end the season, but like coach has said it’s a completely different season now and none of that matters anymore.”

“We’re just going to play our game. It’s nice to be (on the long winning streak) but we know we need to improve on some things,” added senior Kyle Norton.

The Tigers, who last played on Feb. 8, used the extra practice time to work on their game.

“The first couple practices we were focusing on ourselves and getting what we needed to do better,” said senior DeSean Cromwell, who said the Tigers switched their focus to Brunswick on Thursday. “Now we’re going to start pushing into what Brunswick runs. We’ve already played them once, but we’ve still been watching a lot of film because I feel like we still could of played a lot better when we played Brunswick.”

The Tigers know they will be in for a battle on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. as the No. 7 Dragons pushed them to the limit in a 67-58 Biddeford win on Feb. 1.

“(Brunswick) is a really good team … 12-6 is a really good record, so they’re not going to be your typical (No. 2 vs. No. 7) matchup. They are going to be a tough team and we know that going in,” said Edgerton, who is averaging 7.3 points and 5.7 assists per contest.

“They are a very good team, you know a 12-6 record we’re kind of unlucky to play a (12-win team) as a seven seed,” added Tardif.

One thing the Dragons bring to the table is a strong core that can finish at the rim, according to Tardif.

“They have multiple guys who can score. They had four guys who scored double digits on us the last game, so it’s not just shutting down one player,” Tardif said.

The Tigers can counter the Dragons’ fire power with some of their own as Cody Saucier (12.6 points), Norton (11.8), Jerome Criado (8.1) and Cromwell (7.7) join Edgerton in scoring at least 7 points a game.

While the Tigers’ ability to score the rock will be important on Saturday, they know that it may come down to them stopping Brunswick.

“We can’t let them shoot as much and we’ve got to work harder to fight through their offense,” said Norton.

“I feel like we let them shoot way too often,” added Cromwell. “I think we definitely could have played better on-ball D … it wasn’t as good as it should have been.”

The Tigers returned to the postseason last year and got a chance to play at the historic Expo. While that game — a 48-34 loss to Falmouth — didn’t go their way, Tardif believes that experience will help them this weekend.

“I think it does help us a lot. We had four or five kids who played on the Expo floor. (We are in the) same time slot as we were last year,” said Tardif, whose team also got to play at the Expo earlier this year. “We got a couple Christmas Tournament (games) in this year which was really nice and a lot of those guys got playing time and got to shoot there. We got to run our press on the big court, so I think we are as prepared as we can be.”

The Tigers are confident heading into the tournament, but they also know wins aren’t going to just be handed to them.

“Every game is going to be tough. That’s probably the one thing (coach) has told us the most — you’re not going to walk over a team. Every team wants to win just as bad as you want to win,” said Edgerton.

Cromwell believes a win Saturday night could set the tone for the entire postseason.

“I feel like if we win this game, we will just keep on winning,” Cromwell said. “We’re in a pretty good spot right now and I think we are all buying into what we need to do to win.”

Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 322. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.


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