Pius set to battle 'Grove for girls' title

Journal Register News Service file photo Melissa Mansur and her St. Pius X teammates look to capture the PAC-10 Final Four girls' basketball championship tonight against Pottsgrove at Spring-Ford (7 p.m.).

POTTSTOWN - St. Pius X and Lansdale Catholic are very well-acquainted in girls basketball circles.

The Winged Lions and Crusaders met in the Pioneer Athletic Conference (PAC-10) championship game last year and had two tight regular season games this season.

Now they will do battle again in the Final Four playoff title game Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Pottstown High School's Strom Gymnasium.

The Crusaders (19-4) defeated the Lions (18-5) by identical 55-51 scores this year with one game extended into overtime.

Coach Maggie deMarteleire's Crusaders beat Owen J. Roberts in the semifinals while coach Joe Masleh's Lions downed crosstown rival Pottsgrove. LC has a lot of tradition going with 11 trips to the league championship game.

Masleh said there is one area where Pius X must improve upon to beat the Crusaders.

"In both games we shot bad at the foul line," Masleh said. "The last game we shot 16-for-30 and they were 20-for-24. We have to shoot better."

Masleh is hoping Kristin Bone and Kim Brady play strong games, like they did against the Falcons, to help relieve the pressure on sophomore guards Rayne Reber and Ryan Mooney. Lauren Magill also played well off the bench for the Lions. Brianne Slizofski is the other starter for the Pius X unit.

"They are a little deeper than us," Masleh said. "The starting fives are about even. They have to handle our pressure. Over there we had a 12-point lead. But this is a bigger court with bigger passing lanes. But I still thought the foul line was the difference in both games."

Masleh is aware the Crusaders have the league's leading scorer in senior guard Lindsay Formica. He hopes the Lions can control the other players.

"She is going to get her points, but we have to try to control the other people," Masleh said. "Nobody else was in double figures so we did a good job."

DeMarteleire thinks she has a capable supporting cast with the likes of Leanne Kovacs, Katelin Formica and freshman Michele Brokans to assist with the scoring load. Sophomores Kate Wojdula and Christina Buchholz have also come on strong at the end of the year after playing junior varsity ball at the start of the campaign.

"We have to keep them off the offensive boards, be aggressive on offense and take care of the ball," deMarteleire said. "We have to handle their pressure."

In the first meeting at Father Doyne Hall, LC was winning the whole game before Reber sank a triple at the buzzer to tie it and send the game into overtime. Last week, on the opposite floor, Pius X had a 14-point lead in the second quarter before the Crusaders rallied to win.

"Both teams play very intense and are scrappy," deMarteleire said. "We both dive after loose balls. It is going to be pretty interesting. Pius played exceptionally well against Pottsgrove. Their defense and offensive rebounding were outstanding.

"I hope on Wednesday both schools bring their 'A' game and it will be a lot of fun. Different kids always step up."

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