2017-02-09 / Sports

Late surge propels Westbrook past Biddeford

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Associate Sports Editor

BIDDEFORD — The visiting Westbrook boys basketball team pushed past Biddeford 53-44 Wednesday night.

The Tigers gained a 22-20 lead at the halftime break, but the Blue Blazes outscored Biddeford 33-24 in the final 16 minutes to pull away with the victory.

Both teams played solid defense throughout the contest, however Westbrook managed to sink a few more shots down the stretch.

“I thought where Westbrook made some separation was when some of their guys hit outside shots ... they had a couple of steals that led to easy layups on their end. We gave them six, eight points and that was the difference,” said Biddeford coach Justin Tardif.

Westbrook’s Landon Sjoberg and Zac Manoogian led the Blue Blazes with 13 points each, including 20 overall points in the second half. Kyle Champagne finished close behind with 12 points scored.

Pat Pearl led the Tigers with 12 points while Austin Dutremble and DeSean Cromwell added eight each.

Despite the loss, the Tigers still maintain possession of the seventh seed in the Class A South. Biddeford recently clinched its first playoff berth since 2012, and Tardif believes this year’s group is as talented of a group as the Tigers have had in recent years.

“The answer is obvious, physically we are just a better team than we have been in year’s past. That’s as simple as it gets in basketball,” said Tardif.

The Tigers close out the regular season against neighbor Thornton Academy. Tardif and company hope to take home a win in order to avoid the dreaded 8-9 playoff game next week.

“They’re good — we’re going to have to shoot the ball well and we’re going to have to make sure to limit them to one shot on the offense,” said Tardif. “We can’t give up easy baskets in transition because they’re very good at pushing the ball on fast breaks ... we’re going to have to be sure to stop that.”

Tardif also believes that his team is battle-tested, and has the maturity to take on some of the state’s best in the postseason. The Tigers hope to show their ability to compete in close games down the road.

“It’s good for us — I’m hoping that it shows at the Expo in the playoffs if we get there,” said Tardif. “If we expect to win a playoff game, you’re going to win a playoff game by two points and it’s going to be a nail biter. We have a lot of experience with that this year.”

 Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller can be reached at asponseller@journaltribune.com or at 282-1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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