BIDDEFORD — In a regular season that had its share of ups and downs, the one consistent trait for Biddeford High’s boys’ basketball team was its positive attitude.

And Tuesday night, they needed every bit of it to pull out a Class A South preliminary round win over Fryeburg Academy. Down early and struggling to get going, eighth-ranked Biddeford regrouped and held off the ninth-ranked Raiders, 57-48, at Tiger Gym.

“We just had to stay (together)  as a team,” said Biddeford senior forward Marc Reali. “That’s our big thing. Team first. When something isn’t going our way, we look to each other, we lean on each other.”

Reali was a big part of the win, scoring a game-high 21 points, including 12 in the second quarter. But junior forward Will Harriman added 17 points, 13 in the second half, and junior guard Kelvin Omeze scored his only five points in the final 6:08.

The Tigers scored the game’s final eight points, holding Fryeburg scoreless over the final 3:15.

“That was that mental toughness we needed to have, understanding what playoff basketball is about,” said Biddeford Coach Justin Tardif. “It’s the ability to not worry about that last play but making the next play.”

Biddeford (11-8) will face top-ranked York in the quarterfinals at the Portland Expo Saturday in a game scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Fryeburg finished 6-13, losing its last five games.

“The game came down to the little things,” said Fryeburg Coach Sedge Saunders. “And who can execute best at the end of the game.”

The Raiders had the lead midway through the second quarter until the Tigers went on a 13-4 run – Reali scoring eight – to take a 27-23 halftime lead.

The Raiders used the inside power of 6-foot-8 freshman William Hallam (16 points) to pull within one late in the third. But a Harriman NBA-range 3-pointer with three seconds left gave the Tigers a 41-37 lead entering the fourth.

The Raiders would tie it early in the fourth, only to have Omeze score on a 3-point play, getting fouled as he banked in a slashing drive, to make it 44-41.

“Just before that Kelvin had come over to me to tell me he needed a sub,” said Tardif. “And as Nick (Lyons) is running to the scorer’s table, he does that.”

A drive by Bobby Hallam cut Biddeford’s lead to 49-48 with 3:15 left. But the Raiders wouldn’t score again. Reali responded with a drive to give Biddeford a three-point lead. Then Harriman made an outstanding play to perhaps salvage the win.

After Bobby Hallam made a steal, Harriman raced back to block his shot. Then Harriman sprinted up the left side of the court and took a pass from Kurtis Edgerton for a layup that made it 53-48 with 2:12 left and brought a resounding roar from the home fans.

“I saw the open space on the left and I just took it,” said Harriman.

Reali said the big plays down the stretch illustrate how the Tigers win.

“Every game is different,” he said. “Some games Kelvin might have more points. It doesn’t matter. We’re just looking to get the win no matter what. In the playoffs, it’s all about the win.”

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