Lisa Mirarchi had been working with teammate Molly Namiotka on a behind-the-back bounce pass. On Thursday night, with her team leading by almost 20 points and a minute to go in the third quarter, she thought she had the ideal opportunity to try it.

Both members of the Villa Maria basketball team executed it perfectly.

"I just went for it, and hoped for the best," Mirarchi said.

The play, which stemmed from a Mirarchi steal and led to a layup for Namiotka, summed up the game for both players in a 57-38 victory over Phoenixville. When they had the ball, it was pretty hard to stop them, no matter what kind of defense the Phantoms threw at them.

The two combined for 39 points, 26 in the first half, in the West Chester Christmas Classic game at West Chester University.

Villa Maria (5-2), ranked 10th in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, was coming off a devastating overtime loss to Notre Dame.

"I think that loss actually built us up," said Namiotka, who scored 19 points Thursday. "We had to figure out what we were doing wrong. That motivated us and made us come together as a team."

The athleticism of the Phantoms (3-4) kept them in the game for a few quarters, and the shooting of the Hurricanes, who were hot in the first quarter, cooled in the second.

Both teams will continue play in the Christmas Classic on Friday, as Villa Maria will play Abington Friends at 7:30 and Phoenixville will face Bishop McDevitt at 4:30.

The Hurricanes are looking to win the tournament for the third consecutive year.

"It's really important; it's defending our title," said Mirarchi, who added that seniors from last season's team will be coming to the tournament.

"It's important for our pride, and we are representing our school here. We have to make sure we represent it well."

Phoenixville   6 9 14 9 – 38

Villa Maria   18 10 16 13 – 57

P: Jada Boyce 16, Nomi Washington 8, Aubree Flagg 4, Annie Rubino 3, Gaby Duda 3, Mary Sinnott 2, Nicole Lemon 2.

VM: Lisa Mirarchi 20, Molly Namiotka 19, Katie Mooney 10, Lexi Daggett 2, Mora Fetterolf 2, Devon Tirney 2, Blair Allan 2.