BIDDEFORD — For a few select high school teams Monday’s first practice of the winter sports season might have been a purposeful, initial step toward championship greatness.

But the reality is, for most teams – regardless of the sport – the first day of a new season has different significance.

Take the Biddeford High boys’ basketball team for instance. With senior point guard Julius Silva the lone returning starter from a 4-15 team, the Tigers are not on anyone’s short list of top contenders in Class A South.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

After all, only 20 of the 129 boys’ basketball teams expected to participate in Maine Principals’ Association competition, will play in a regional championship game across Maine’s five-class system.

“Our goal is really to just be the best version of ourselves,” said 10th year varsity coach Justin Tardif, a Biddeford grad. “That doesn’t necessarily mean winning a state championship or making a deep run in the playoffs. But if we can be the best version of ourselves, we’ll be happy with that. If that means playoffs, that means playoffs. If that means competing hard for four quarters, then it means competing hard for four quarters.


“And I think it’s a good lesson for a lot of kids and parents across the board because everyone thinks state championships and playoffs, that’s the reason why you play high school sports. It’s really not. It’s creating those team activities, creating those relationships and growing together as one.”

Girls’ ice hockey teams got an early jump on the winter sports season, having their first practice Nov. 7. But for basketball players, boys’ ice hockey, indoor track and ski and swim squads, Monday night was the day to start fresh.

A half hour before the Biddeford boys’ basketball team was to take they Tiger Gym court for the first of two days of tryouts, 32 prospective players were already in the gym lobby ready to start.

“Every one probably has a different goal,” Tardif said. “For some it’s about I want to start on varsity. For some, it’s just I want to make the varsity. And some kids are just, ‘put me on any team and I’ll be happy.’ ”

The first day still brings nervous excitement. Even for someone like Silva, who will be a four-year varsity player.

“Always. It’s fun but you know it’s the start of something new. There’s butterflies,” Silva said.


A year ago, Biddeford finished 11th in the 12-team Class A South standings in 2021-22. Normally, that would have meant no tournament for Biddeford. But, last year the MPA used an open tournament knowing the pandemic would cause teams to miss games, which would impact standings. The Tigers took advantage of their invitation and upset No. 6 Freeport 56-54 before losing to No. 3 Marshwood 47-30 in the regional quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

Silva said he thinks a realistic goal for this year’s team is to get back to the Expo for the regional quarterfinal, “and hopefully win an Expo game.”

The first practice helps to set expectations, Silva said.

“I think it’s important, especially for me, to show these guys what the energy of a varsity practice looks like and the type of energy and focus we need to have so when we go into the season we’re locked in,” Silva said. “This team, there’s a lot of stuff up in the air, even with starters, and especially with the bench.”

For senior 6-foot-2 forward Sam Harriman, a varsity player a year ago who saw limited minutes, Day One was his first chance to show he’s ready for more playing time.

“It’s good to be out here again and to be with my teammates,” Harriman said. “I have some things I’ve worked on over the summer and I’m excited to go out there and show it off, that I’m better. That I’m ready to go this season.”


Sophomore guard Landon Sirois played on the junior varsity and the freshman team a year ago. This past fall he saw increasing time on the varsity football team, giving him added confidence he can compete against older players.

“My goal is to make varsity this year. Because you always want to be at the highest level you can,” Sirois said. “It’s going to be difficult. I’m going to have to give it my best effort to make the varsity basketball team. I’ve been thinking about it the past couple of days, just what can I do to make the team.”

And, as Sirois put it, there’s another simple but meaningful reason to be excited for a new season.

“It’s fun,” Sirois said. “You get to hang out with your friends and play some basketball with your friends.”

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