SACO — Scarborough came out strong, stumbled in the second game, but finished with a flurry to beat Thornton Academy 25-18, 15-25, 25-8 and 25-19 and advance in the quarterfinal round of the Class A volleyball state tournament Saturday at Thornton Academy.

No. 5 Scarborough (11-5) advanced to the semifinal round Wednesday, when it will play No. 1 Cape Elizabeth. No. 4 Thornton (12-3) was playing in its first playoff game.

The jitters showed early for Thornton as the Red Storm spurted in the middle and at the end of the first game. Scarborough’s talented front line of Jordyn Cowan and Kacey Foerster dominated at times with their kills shots.

The Golden Trojans came roaring back in the second game, led by Ashley Howe. Thornton closed the second game with a 6-1 spurt.

Scarborough dominated the third game, closing with an 8-0 run. The Red Storm jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the fourth game, only to have Thornton rally to take a 10-9 lead.

It was Thornton’s last gasp.

“We didn’t give up after the second game,” said Cowan. “We were kind of down after the second game, but after that we went for everything.”

Scarborough’s ability to dig low balls and set them up for Cowan, Foerster, Taylor Marinko and Natalie Simonton proved crucial. Howe and Kylee Austin were strong up front for the Golden Trojans, but Scarborough had a little more teamwork overall. Emily Hanson played a key role digging the ball for Scarborough.

“Thornton Academy played well in the second game,” said Scarborough Coach Jon Roberts. “They pushed us throughout.”

Howe finished with 13 kills and two blocks for Thornton Academy. Austin added 12 kills and one block.

“This is only the third year of the program,” said Thornton Academy Coach Keith O’Leary. “Our inexperience showed, but I’m proud of the way the girls fought back an won the second game and played tough in first and fourth games. We graduate a lot of seniors. They’ve been with the program all three years.”