Monday February 21, 2011 | 04:00 PM

Cindy Blodgett, the University of Maine women's basketball coach, took in the first two games of the Western Class A quarterfinals at the Portland Expo.

Blodgett, who recently signed a two-year extension, wanted to not only see McAuley senior Rebecca Knight, who's heading to Orono to play for the Black Bears, but to check in on some other players in the tournament.

"The thing I like most is that this is the tournament,'' said Blodgett. "This is the stage where you expect your best players to step up. It's not like the regular season where, in some games, your best player might only play half the game. "This is the tournament. Your best players are going to play regardless of the score. They have the opportunity to shine on a much bigger stage.''

Blodgett has seen Knight a couple of times this season and is impressed. "She's certainly thinking about making the transition to the next level,'' said Blodgett.

Courtney Anderson, the senior sharp-shooting guard from Class B Leavitt, is also heading to Orono to play for Blodgett. Anderson will be at the Expo with the No. 2 Hornets at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday against Cape Elizabeth.

It's been a busy recruiting season for Blodgett and her staff, travelling to Indiana, Ohio, New York, Toronto and throughout Maine.

"We've seen Morse play a couple of times this year, we've seen Messalonskee a couple of times,'' said Blodgett. "I want Maine kids. But we recruit from all over the place.''

MCAULEY'S AMY VACHON, coaching her first tournament game, had a big cheering section behind the McAuley bench.

Her father, Paul, the former Cony coach and current athletic director at the Augusta school, led a group of 14 into the Portland Expo to watch McAuley beat South Portland, 52-27. That included mom Debbie, twin brother Aaron, and grandpartents Pat and George St. Pierre, among others.

The only problem, said Paul Vachon, was that "we had a hard time finding green (to wear). We all had to go shopping for green."

The Vachons have plenty of red – Cony's color – but couldn't wear it because that's also South Portland's color.

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VarsityMaine The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram put a priority on high school sports coverage, and this blog is a place for all our reporters to put news and notes from around the state.

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Maine High School Sports Bloggers

Tom Chard is a Portland native who has covered high school sports and golf for the Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram for 38 years. A three-sport athlete at Deering High, Tom's chief athletic pursuit is chasing the little white ball. He played in his 20th Maine Amateur Golf Championship in July.

Glenn Jordan came to Maine in 1994 to cover the nascent Portland Sea Dogs. After eight baseball seasons and three children – the last two within 18 minutes of each other – he became a part-time writer. Among the sports he covers are now are tennis, skiing, swimming and running. He has a degree in philosophy from Dartmouth, a decent forehand and a penchant for checkers.

Mike Lowe is a Massachusetts native who feels he's lived long enough in Maine (since 1982) to have roots here. He graduated from Boston University and has worked in New Hampshire and Maine, covering everything from the Little League World Series to the Olympics. When he has free time – Ha! – he likes to read, collect comic books and watch the grass grow from his hammock.

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