PHOENIXVILLE - Phoenixville's girls basketball team played host to first-place Lansdale Catholic for the Phantoms' final home game of the season Thursday evening.
The Phantoms found themselves close to the Crusaders for a quarter with LC leading 9-4. However, the visitors exploded to a 31-10 advantage in the second period en route to a 60-27 Pioneer Athletic Conference victory over the Phantoms.
Lansdale Catholic is now 11-1 and leading Division II of the PAC-10 standings plus a 13-9 overall log. Phoenixville fell to 1-11 in the circuit and 4-17 overall.
Senior guard Michele Brokans led the Crusaders with 17 points, including 15 in the first half. She also made two treys and had four steals and three rebounds. Sophomore guard Courtney Formica provided 11 of her 15 points in the second quarter and also had seven rebounds and four steals.
Junior guard Colleen Collins also finished in double digits for LC with 10 points, including a pair of triples in the second period.
Senior forward Kristie Johnson led Phoenixville with five points and six rebounds. Junior forward Chelsea DiFebbo also had five points with 3-for-6 foul shooting and three boards. Senior forward Brandi Bearden produced six boards and one field goal for the Phantoms, and freshman center Arial Keys had eight caroms and three points off the bench.
"We started the older upperclassmen in their last home game," said Phoenixville coach Erik Rutchauskas. "The first quarter we executed our game plan and walked the ball up. Number 10 (Formica) missed a few shots, but then she started warming up. Then number 14 (Collins) started warming up and we were down. They (Crusaders) started posting up our smallest player and they have so many weapons."
Lansdale Catholic shot 13-for-17 from the field in the second period and 24-for-60 (40 percent) for the game. They also shot 6-for-8 at the free throw line and capitalized on 24 Phoenixville turnovers, with 16 of them coming in the first half.
Phoenixville shot 11-for-36 (31 percent) from the field and 5-for-14 at the foul line.
"I am proud of our kids," Rutchauskas said. "We told them to play physical the second half and make them win it and they did. It was a good learning experience against the best team in the league."
Phoenixville's four varsity freshmen, Keys, Kate Casaday, Heather Parris and Johanna Martens, played the full junior varsity game to seek a gauge of comparison experience and came away with a 29-24 loss to the younger Crusaders.
Lansdale Catholic was coming off a 49-30 loss to Oxford in a non-league game Wednesday night as part of the Crusaders' brutal non-conference schedule.
"We started off a little bit slow," said LC coach Maggie deMarteleire. "Then we started crashing the boards. After the Oxford game last night, I wanted to work on our man-to-man defense and our rebounding. The first time we played Phoenixville we pressed them and won by 20 points. I didn't want to do that. We wanted to work on our half-court game and the kids really picked up the intensity."
She credited Formica and Brokans for serving as the catalyst for the Crusaders with their energetic play.
"There is a lot more parity in the PAC-10 this year," deMarteleire said. "There is no clear cut number one team. The Final Four should be a lot of fun. We have been a little bit inconsistent. We are working on basics. If we rebound, play defense and make the extra pass, we should be where we want to be to start the playoffs."