Wednesday February 15, 2012 | 11:17 PM

A year ago, the Westbrook girls' basketball team had just wrapped up a 6-12 season. They had struggled for three years to put together a decent season.

A year later, the Blue Blazes are 9-10 and playing in the Western Class A quarterfinals Saturday. That their season quite likely will end against top-seeded McAuley (18-0) is almost irrelevant to the Blue Blazes. Making it this far is a victory.

“Definitely,” junior Ashlee Richards said. “The past three years have been really rough for us. We've not done as well as all of us wanted to. But this year I think we had three great captains. They've been awesome to everyone. And we've had a lot of young players step up. We have a lot of people coming up and stepping up and that's what we need as a team.”

Part of the reason for the turnaround is first-year coach Christopher Aube, a Westbrook native. The Blazes lose three seniors next season but return three starters.

FOUL NIGHT: Wednesday's Westbrook-Sanford preliminary-round game was odd. Sanford not make a basket until the second quarter, but Westbrook ran up seven fouls in the first quarter, putting the Redskins at the foul line early and often. They hit 10 of 16 attempts in the first half.

Perhaps the bigger news item: The coach wasn't complaining about the calls.

“It's part of adjusting to tournament officiating," Aube said. "You get that extra set of eyes and you know, we were fouling. The other thing that happens is you're geared up. The thing is, I don't think any of them were phantom fouls.”

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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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About the Author

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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