Thornton Academy’s Payton Jones goes up for a layup during Tuesday night’s game against the rival Biddeford Tigers. PAT McDONALD/Journal Tribune

SACO — Heading into Tuesday night’s showdown, the Biddeford boys basketball team had just one win on the season, while the rival Thornton Academy Golden Trojans sat at 5-2 and were near the top of the Class AA South standings.
Most people would probably have expected the Trojans to roll over the visiting Tigers, but as the old saying goes — you can throw the records out in a rivalry game.
Biddeford would hit an impressive 13 3-pointers on Tuesday night as they hung with TA, but a strong fourth quarter propelled the Trojans to a 55-47 win over the Tigers.
“That was the game plan. We wanted to get into a 3-point shooting contest with them,” said Biddeford coach Justin Tardif. “We talked about how if they could shoot 40 threes and we shot 40 threes that would give us our best chance to win the game. In a sense we got ourselves into that type of game which allowed us to hang in there.”
Thornton Academy would get 13 points from Payton Jones. Kobe Gaudette finished with 11 points, while Dylan Griffin added 10 and Will Chapman chipped in eight in the win.
“The atmosphere was great. It’s just so much fun playing in this game,” said Chapman.
Biddeford (1-7) was led by Cody Saucier with 13 points and Carter Edgerton finished with 11. Will Harriman added nine points and Alex McAlevey had eight.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair as TA outscored Biddeford by two points in each frame to take a 31-27 lead into the break.
Bidderford would put together a strong third quarter — led by 3-pointers from Ashton Crowell, Harriman and Saucier — as the Tigers took a 39-38 advantage into the fourth.
The two teams traded leads through the first four minutes of the fourth, but Chapman scored with 3:51 remaining to give Thornton the lead for good.
Griffin added a score with 1:45 left to make it 49-45 and Anthony Bracamonte hit a pair of foul shots with just 41 seconds left to make it a 6-point game.
The Trojans were able to hold on from there as they snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 6-2 on the season.
“I think we’re doing great. If we keep playing team defense and rebounding the ball we’re going to have a shot this year,” Chapman said.
It was another close loss for the Tigers, who have dropped five games by single digits so far this season. Tardif is looking for his young squad to take a step forward in the final 10 games of the campaign.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but we’ve got a long way to go,” said Tardif. “I think it is a learning experience for (the underclassmen), but we’re running out of time. We have two great seniors, Cody and Carter, and we’ve got to figure out a way to get those guys into the playoffs. We’re running out of games and they’re growing up on the fly. They’ve got to keep growing up and they’ve got to grow up a little bit quicker.”
Both Tardif and TA coach Bob Davies know how important these rivalry games are for their players and the two communities as a whole.
“It’s always fun. The kids are always pumped up for it. We had a great couple of practices leading into it. The energy was really good at practice. Without question, it’s definitely a different atmosphere … it’s not just another game and they were ready to play,” said Tardif.
“It’s good for both communities to play in front of the fans … it’s good for the kids,” added Davies. “The kids know each other and grew up playing against each other so they’re always going to try to do their best against each other.”
— Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 780-9017. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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