DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for more than three decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Xavier lacrosse enjoys playing at home

It must have seemed like a lifetime to coach Rachel D’Angelo and her Xavier Prep club lacrosse team before the Gators played their first home game of the season at Petznick Field.

After six road games, the time finally arrived on Thursday night (March 15) against Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep and it proved to be worth the wait.

Xavier built a four-goal lead by halftime and withstood a second-half rally by Notre Dame for a 9-7 victory. Xavier (3-4) had lost to the Saints 13-7 on March 12 at Notre Dame.

“We had our share of away games, so it was good to be home,’’ D’Angelo said.

Asked about the difference between the win and the contest earlier in the week, she said, “We played more as a team and had a ton more patience on offense.

“We have improved a lot since our first game of the season. We played well tonight and it shows that our basic skills have improved a lot.’’

Senior Caylie Wagner led the Gators with a hat trick, while sophomore Nina Mackey and junior Sarah Minton had two goals apiece. The other two goals were scored by junior Emma Tawney and sophomore Tara Kobierowski.

Sophomore Tanya Barakat had a decent game in goal and junior Grace Martinez showed a great deal of aggressiveness throughout at both ends of the field.

It was Wagner’s final goal of the night, with 3:17 left in the game, that turned a precarious one-goal advantage into the more comfortable two-goal margin that proved to be the difference in the final score.

Wagner took the ball to the right of the goal and as a defender rushed her, spun away and was in the clear for what nearly was a point-blank shot. It looked almost like some sort of basketball move. The opponent appeared stunned.

D’Angelo smiled at the thought of the last goal.

“She has tried a lot of those. She likes them and probably will try it again,’’ the coach said.

Next up for the Gators is perhaps their biggest challenge yet. They are at home again on Monday night (March 19) against league-leading Scottsdale Chaparral. The Firebirds (5-0) have given up just 17 goals in their five games.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Equestrian journey a success for XCP freshman

Xavier Prep freshman Ava Todd is doing whatever she can to become a consummate equestrian rider, and the results speak volumes.

She has been riding competitively for nearly a year after two previous years of introduction to the sport, primarily through lessons, and recently was awarded with a letter (similar to letters in other sports) for those accomplishments.

The letter was bestowed by the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association, which is affiliated with the U.S. Equestrian Federation. Since many high schools/middle schools do not have official equestrian clubs/groups, these letters/awards can help fill the void for the participants.

The evaluation comes in the “Hunters and Equitation’’ category. In the “hunters’’ part of the equation, judges evaluate the horses, including how the animal reacts to what the rider is asking it to do. The equitation portion is the evaluation of the rider and how easy they make the action look and getting the horse to do what they want it to do.

To be eligible for a letter, riders must have 100 hours of approved saddle time and participated in at least three competitive events.

Todd rides four days a week, on Saturdays and Sundays and on two weekdays after school.
XCP freshman Ava Todd with her newly minted equestrian letter (photo courtesy of Kathleen Gannon).
“You learn something new every time,’’ she said.

It’s been a life of learning new things for Todd. The Phoenix area is her family’s sixth different home as the result of her father’s employment, and No. 7 will follow later this year when they move to St. Louis.

Todd admits that it can be difficult to develop friendships in such a short time and adjust to different school curriculums, but she continues to proceed with a positive outlook. She also has lived in Canada and Kentucky.

She has gained a few friends who ride out of the same facility in Scottsdale, and they will be riding in an annual spring show toward the end of March.

The riders are required to do several tasks associated with such an endeavor, such as brushing and feeding their horses, putting the saddles on. They do get occasional assistance from people working at the “barn,’’ helping to keep the stalls clean.

A friendship/working relationship also must be developed with the horses themselves.

“It’s a trust thing,’’ Todd said. “It’s not just you. It’s a partnership.’’

She has ridden a horse named River for quite some time, but about three weeks ago switched to another horse named Quinley and said she is feeling more comfortable with it.

In order to succeed, a rider must have family support and Todd has that.

“I am very grateful for everything they do for me,’’ she said.

She also is thankful for her teachers and guidance she has received from Xavier school counselor Kathleen Gannon.

“I love riding, but I know I must keep school a priority,’’ Todd said. “I need to focus on that. It is challenging sometimes going from (riding) competition one day to a quiz in school the next.’’

And although it might be a bit early to think about what might transpire for her beyond high school, the thought has drifted through Todd’s mind.

“I haven’t decided if I will continue riding at the end of high school, but I know there are some good programs in college and some barns in those areas where I could bring my horse and ride,’’ she said.

She wants to finish this school year as strong as she can and move on with good memories of her time at Xavier.

Perhaps that could be explained by the message hanging on the wall of Gannon’s office:

It’s the friends we meet along the way that help us appreciate the journey.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Walls crumble, Xavier softball tumbles

It was fun while it lasted.

Xavier Prep’s softball team had a 1-0 lead through the first four innings against host Glendale Mountain Ridge on Monday (March 12), but could not make it last.

The walls crumbled as Mountain Ridge scored five times in the fifth inning and six times in the sixth for an 11-2 victory.

Xavier, which had won two in a row prior to this one, dropped to 2-7-2.

The Gators scored their first run in the first inning.

Lizzie Marino led off with a single, advanced to second on an infield hit by Sydney Johnson, went to third on a groundout by Melissa Fedorka and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Bassett.

XCP played good defense and even turned a defensive miscue into a big out in the fourth. One Mountain Ridge runner was aboard by way of a single. She advanced to third on a pair of steals. A fly ball was hit to right for an out.

The runner thought about tagging up but went back to third as the throw came back in. The throw was wide into a side fence near the Xavier dugout and then the runner tried to score. Xavier retrieved the ball and got it to pitcher Mercedes Silva covering the plate, and the runner was out.

The Mountain Ridge fifth began with a groundout and then a hit batter. The Mountain Lions brought 10 players to the plate and had three hits to take a 5-1 lead.

Bassett drove in her second run of the game with one out in the sixth on a home run to right center field.

Mountain Ridge sent 11 hitters to the plate in the sixth, scoring six runs on five hits to fortify its lead.

Xavier now takes a one-week break before returning to action on March 20 with a game at Phoenix Horizon.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Track and field has solid day in AMDG meet

Friday (March 9) offered the first big-meet test for Xavier Prep’s track and field team, and the Gators posted a respectable finish in the AMDG Invitational for girls and boys at the Brophy Sports Campus.

Xavier was fourth with 5930 points in team scoring, which was tabulated in the decathlon format. The top three teams were Chandler High (7635), Chandler Hamilton (6774) and Peoria Liberty (5998).

Running races featured anywhere from three up to seven heats in the picture-perfect weather for athletes and fans alike. In addition to medals for the top three finishers, Nike presented gifts of athletic bags, bags for spikes and socks.

Top individual finisher was junior Jada Sims in the high hump, who was second with a height of 5-4. That helped the Gators tie for first in the team category with Glendale Mountain Ridge.

IMDG Invitational

Xavier results

Shot put – Joyce Karekezi, Sr., 20th (27-1 ½), Gisselle Bojorquez, Jr., 33rd (24-11), Kendall Swanson, So., 36th (13-6).

Long jump – Kolbe Pierce, Jr., 16th (15-8 ½), Mariah Morales, Jr., 36th (13-8), Ciara Quiambao, Fr., 38th (13-6).

Pole vault – Molly Cahill, Jr., 15th (7-0).

High jump – Jada Sims, Jr., 2nd (5-4), Izzy Estes, Sr., 27th (4-6).

Discus – Bojorquez, 25th (71-2), Swanson, 34th (66-8), Janna Hynds, 35th (66-7).

Triple jump – Eliza Mulkern, So., 20th (30-2 ½), Cahill, 26th (28-1 ½), Bethany Barnwell, Fr., 29th (27-0 ¾).

4x800 relay – Xavier “A’’, 2nd (9:56.35). Karina Hawkins, Jr., Sammy Braun, Fr., Caroline McClelland, Sr., Karina Smith, Jr. Xavier “B”, 5th (10:35.70). Karli Baker, Jr., Annika Nielson, Sr., Kristen Keeble, So., Grace Valandra, So. Xavier “C”, 10th (11:02.24). Sophia Healy, Fr., Natalia Hiler, Jr., Ryleigh Corona, Fr., Mia Alejos, Fr.

100-meter hurdles – Sims, 5th (15.35), Mulkern, 18th (18.131), Estes, 23rd (18.43).                                                                                                                                      

4x100 relay – Xavier “A’’, 8th (51.43). Bisola Ojeniyi, Sr., Ololade Adebayo, Fr., Johnnie Mitchell, Jr., Sophie Brohard, So.

400 – Megan Zacher, So., 5th (59.25), Kinsey Ehmann, Sr., 10th (1:01.53), Leila Grant, Jr., 12th (1:02.78).

800 – Hawkins, 7th (2:26.33), Braun, 8th (2:27.76), Smith, 13th (2:32.06).

100 – Mitchell, 18th (13.36), Ojeniyi, 19th (13.46), Adebayo, 20th (13.50).

1,600 – Mia Olsen, So., 5th (5:17.78), Helen Innes, Jr., 6th (5:18.31), Jamie Stelnik, Fr., 8th (5:21.19).

XCP softball wins second game in a row

Two wins in a row for Xavier softball!!

The latest triumph came on Friday (March 9), when the Gators recorded a 9-5 victory on the road over Goodyear Millennium.

Xavier (2-6-1) pounded out 19 hits. Four players each had three hits – Melissa Fedorka, Lizzie Marino, Sydney Johnson and Mercedes Silva.

Silva also was the winning pitcher, striking out 10.

Xavier will be back in action on Monday (March 12), when the Gators travel to face Glendale Mountain Ridge. First pitch is 3:45 p.m.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Softball gets first victory with a flourish

Who let the Gators out?

Xavier Prep put on quite a hitting display on Thursday (March 8), earning their first victory of the season in a 16-2 victory over visiting Phoenix Desert Vista in a contested shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.

Xavier is now 1-6-2.

The Gators scored 12 runs in the second inning and four more in the fourth.

Xavier collected 17 hits, including four by Lizzie Marino, three by Katie Donahey (including a home run) and two each by Macy Lee, Sydney Johnson and Jordan Bassett.

Pitcher Mercedes Silva picked up the win, giving up just two hits.

Xavier will play a road game on Friday (March 9) against Goodyear Millennium.

More accolades for Xavier basketball

These Gators just keep on going!

The latest Xavier Prep basketball news has three members of the program receiving recognition by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

XCP coach Jennifer Gillom was selected as the 6A Conference (all schools) Coach of the Year.

Senior forward Montana Oltrogge was named to the 6A First Team and junior point guard Leilani McIntosh was listed on the 6A Second Team.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Xavier beach volleyball falls against Salpointe

Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball team lost for the first time in four matches on Wednesday (March 7), falling 3-2 to Tucson Salpointe Catholic at the Tucson Racquet Club.

The Gators now have a lengthy break before returning to action on March 21 at Scottsdale Saguaro.

Light (what's left of it) shines on XCP tennis

Xavier Prep’s tennis team faced two formidable opponents on Wednesday (March 7) – Scottsdale Chaparral and rapidly fading daylight.

It would be a race to the finish to see if the host Gators could pull out a victory.

The match had been close all day. The two Division I state championship contenders split their six singles matches and each won a doubles match to make it 4-4.

So it all came down to the doubles team of Xavier’s Emily Even and Erica Stutz and Chaparral’s Gabi Moss and Cassie Seminoff.

Back and forth they went, trading points. Finally, as darkness began to set in, Even and Stutz emerged with the win, giving Xavier a 5-4 overall triumph.

Xavier's Tristanne Dechoux follows through on a return shot to Chaparral's Grace Koester during their singles match on Wednesday (Photo by Sr. Lynn Winsor).
The Gators were ecstatic and were joined by XCP athletic director Sr. Lynn Winsor for a post-match cheer.

“We needed it, and it was a true team effort,’’ said Gators coach Laurie Martin, whose team climbed to 6-1. Chaparral is 2-2. “We are very proud of the girls.’’

Another key match was the singles duel between No. 1 players, Tristanne Dechoux of Xavier and Grace Koester of Chaparral.

Koester won the first set 7—5, but then Dechoux began to find her rhythm and came away with a 6-4 win in the second set and 10-5 win in the tiebreaker.

The two had staged a similar match a year ago.

“That was big for us,’’ Martin said of Wednesday’s Dechoux win. “If she doesn’t win, then we are down 2-4 overall and have to win all three of our doubles matches.’’

Xavier will turn around and take another road trip to Phoenix Horizon for a match on Thursday (March 8).


The family of former Xavier player Jordan Craft has provided a generous gift to the program, a set of benches with canopies overhead to help the players deal with the heat between sets.



Tristanne Dechoux def. Grace Koester (C) 5-7, 6-4 (10-5).

Erica Stutz  lost to Chaparral 3-6, 5-7.

Emily Even lost to Chaparral 3-6, 6-7 (1-7).

Maddy Corley lost to Chaparral 0-6, 4-6.

Lorelei Glidden def. Chaparral 6-2, 6-2.

Kate Stegman def. Chaparral 6-2, 1-0 (opponent retired).


Dechoux-Corley lost to Chaparral 1-8.

Stutz-Even def. Chaparral 8-6.

Glidden-Kate Straneva def. Chaparral 8-2.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

XCP girls claim awards for archery, equestrian

Xavier students continue to show their excellence in all facets of the competitive process.

Two Gators recently received awards for their efforts.

Senior Kira Dean, a member of the school’s Hotshots team for archery and clay target shooting, was honored by the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) for overcoming a major life event or disability and inspiring others.

Also, freshman Ava Todd has been given here Equestrian Letter for her work in riding and jumping. She has been working with the horses for three years.

Congratulations, Kira and Ava. You make Xavier proud!!

Big-time home run not enough for Gators

Xavier Prep softball players look forward to the day of their first victory of the season. Unfortunately, it has not arrived yet.

The Gators made another attempt on Tuesday (March 6) but couldn’t get over the top, falling 10-2 to visiting Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.

Xavier is now 0-6-2, O’Connor 9-0-1.

Sandra Day O’Connor hit a triple to lead off the game and kept the hits coming after that, including a pair of home runs.

Xavier managed five hits, and one of them was quite noteworthy.

Pitcher Mercedes Silva, hitting left-handed in the third inning, sent a drive over the right-field fence and beyond. It went over the portable fence, then over the wrought-iron fence at the edge of the Xavier property and onto Meadowbrook Avenue. It’s a wonder that Xavier beach volleyball players across the street didn’t have to duck and cover.

Another occurrence of note came with Sandra Day O’Connor at bat in the top of the sixth inning. Melissa Fedorka went in to play shortstop, which is somewhat unusual considering she throws left-handed. But she handled a ground ball flawlessly and threw the runner out at first base. Fedorka also has played catcher and first base.

Xavier returns to action with another home game on Thursday (March 8) against Phoenix Desert Vista. First pitch is at 3:45 p.m.

Beach volleyball wins, heads to Tucson

Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball team raised its record to 3-0 on Tuesday (March 6) with a 5-0 win over visiting Queen Creek at the Cavanaugh Courts.

The Gators have a quick turnaround on Wednesday (March 7), heading to Tucson for a match against Tucson Salpointe Catholic. The contest will be played at the Tucson Racquet Club.

Tennis finishes Pinnacle, tops Red Mtn.

Xavier Prep’s tennis team has improved its record to 5-1 with two victories this week.

On Monday (March 5), the Gators finished off Phoenix Pinnacle 8-1 in a match that had been interrupted by rain on Feb. 27.

Xavier singles winners against Pinnacle were Erica Stutz, Emily Even, Maddy Corley, Lorelei Glidden, Kate Straneva and Caroline Armknecht. Doubles winners were Stutz-Even and Glidden-Armknecht.

On Tuesday (March 6), XCP came back with a 9-0 shutout of visiting Mesa Red Mountain.

Xavier has two more matches this week, on Wednesday (March 7) at home against Scottsdale Chaparral, and on Thursday (March 8) on the road against Phoenix Horizon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lacrosse gets first victory of season

After three road losses to begin the season, the Xavier Prep club lacrosse team played away from home again on Monday night (March 5), only this time the result was much different.

The Gators came back with an 11-6 victory at Chandler Prep.

They will be looking to make it two in a row on Friday (March 9) with a contest against Phoenix Horizon at Shea Middle School at 2728 E. Shea Blvd. in north Phoenix. Start time is 5 p.m.

Gators' Oltrogge to play in hoops All-Star Game

Xavier Prep basketball player Montana Oltrogge is one of 20 players from around the state who will play in an All-Star Game on March 17 at Talking Stick Arena (Phoenix Suns) . The game will begin at 12:10 p.m.

Good luck, Montana !!

Tennis players represent Xavier well

Xavier Prep’s tennis players were busy on Saturday (March 3) and showed well in the Kiwanis North Phoenix Invitational at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.

Erica Stutz and Emily Even finished second in the gold doubles bracket. The team of Maddy Corley and Kate Straneva were 2-2 in gold doubles.

Emily Good and Caroline Armknecht were 4-0 in the silver doubles bracket and were filling in for two players from another school who were ill.

In gold singles, Lorelei Glidden and Kate Stegman both went 2-1.

A couple of additional Xavier players, Tristanne Dechoux and Jessica Mirmelli, did not play due to injuries.

The Gators have matches on three consecutive days this week. They have home matches on Tuesday (March 6) and Wednesday (March 7) with Mesa Red Mountain and Scottsdale Chaparral, respectively and travel to face Phoenix Horizon on Thursday (March 8).

Monday, March 5, 2018

Chura, Gators earn azcentral soccer honors

Xavier Prep’s Barb Chura has been named’s Coach of the Year after the Gators won their second straight 6A Conference state championship, and three of her players are candidates for Player of the Year honors.

The players are senior goalkeeper Kinsey Ehmann, junior forward-mid Kyla Ferry and senior defender Nicole Hook. The awards will be announced and presented on June 10 at the media outlet’s high school sports awards ceremony on June 10 at Arizona State’s Grady Gammage Auditorium.

In addition, senior forward Abby Hubbard was an honorable mention selection.

What a great season, and congratulations to Coach Chura and the players !!

Defending state champ defeats XCP tennis

Defending Division I team champion Scottsdale Desert Mountain handed Xavier Prep’s tennis team its first loss of the season on Friday (March 2) 6-3 at Desert Mountain.

Xavier, which fell to Desert Mountain in last year’s semifinals, had three winners, Kate Stegman and Emily Good in singles and the doubles team of Kate Straneva and Caroline Armknecht.

The Gators have three matches this week – on Tuesday (March 6) at home against Mesa Red Mountain, on Wednesday (March 7) at home against Scottsdale Chaparral, and on Thursday (March 8) at Phoenix Horizon.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Xavier dominates region hoops awards

Xavier Prep’s outstanding basketball season has been reflected in the announcement of the all-region teams in the 6A Premier.

The region’s coaches made the selections.

Xavier swept its region opponents 8-0 (twice each) and finished 25-6 overall, capping its season last week when it took state runners-up honors.

The big awards went to XCP’s Jennifer Gillom (Coach of the Year), Montana Oltrogge (Player of the Year) and Paris Moore (Defensive Player of the Year).

First-team selections were Katie Hassett and Leilani McIntosh. Addison Putnam was on the second team, and Elysia Fleetwood was honorable mention.

Way to go, Gators! A great season!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Gators begin quest for beach title No. 6

The first five times have been the charm for the Xavier Prep beach volleyball team.

Now, a new season has arrived. What are the Gators’ chances of making it six state championships in as many years the sport has been recognized as an official sport by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

If their first two matches are any indication, fans should expect XCP to be at or near the top when the state tournament has concluded.

Xavier began the season on Wednesday (Feb. 28) with a 5-0 win over Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep and came back on Thursday (March 1) with another 5-0 defeat, this time over Surprise Willow Canyon at Surprise Community Park.

“We are where I think we should be at this point,’’ said veteran coach Tim McHale.

He does not yet appear to have slots set up for the one through five duos. That likely will come soon, perhaps when the Gators open their home season against Queen Creek at the Cavanaugh Courts on Tuesday (March 6) and travel to face Tucson Salpointe Catholic at the Tucson Racquet Club on Wednesday (March 7).

“We might be a bit more physical than we have in the past, and we are young, to some degree,’’ McHale said.

Xavier Prep 2018 beach volleyball roster

Analy Carbine, So.; Trinity Cavanaugh, Jr.; Emily Conn, Jr.; Abby Converse, So.; Ania Hiler, Fr.; Kailey Klein, Sr.; Cassie Kuhler, Jr.; Grace Lincoln, So.; Taylor Lopez, Sr.; Lauren Lykins, Jr.; Bri McKnight, So.; Zaira Reyes, Fr.; Lydia Rush, Jr.; Shea Sciarappo, Jr.; Shannon Shields, Jr.; Serena Turner, Fr.; Juli Westfall, So.

Thursday’s results

Xavier Prep 5, Surprise Willow Canyon 0

Analy Carbine-Lydia Rush def. Willow Canyon 21-11, 21-5.

Serena Turner-Abby Converse def. Willow Canyon 21-6, 21-5.

Lauren Lykins-Juli Westfall def. Willow Canyon 21-8, 21-6.

Trinity Cavanaugh-Kailey Klein def. Willow Canyon 21-7, 21-5.

Shea Sciarappo-Grace Lincoln def. Willow Canyon 21-6, 21-8.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Xavier basketball team "fought until the end'

The Monsoon from Surprise Valley Vista had been to the basketball state championship game before -- a year ago, to be exact.

And they played like it.

Xavier Prep was playing its first title game in more than 30 years.

It all added up to a second straight 6A Conference crown for Valley Vista with a 68-55 victory over XCP at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday night (Feb. 28).

Both teams finished 25-6.

The numbers speak for themselves. Xavier made just 20 of its 60 field-goal attempts (33 percent), 10 of its 23 free-throw attempts (43.5 percent) and was outrebounded 47-34.

Junior point guard Leilani McIntosh gave it all she had, scoring 20 points before fouling out late in the contest, one of three Gators to do so. Senior forward Montana Oltrogge scored 13 points and led in rebounding with 11.

Star senior guard Taylor Chavez led Valley Vista with 22 points, guard Rysha Banner had 17 in addition to a defensive assignment on McIntosh, and freshman forward Marisa Davis had a huge night with 14 points and 18 rebounds.

Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom gave credit where credit was due.

“They (Valley Vista) had poise, they knew what to do and their defensive rotations were very difficult to go against. Their experience of being here before was huge,’’ she said.

Of her own team’s effort, she said, “Nobody expected us to be here, but we made it. All the girls worked very hard. They were here for the first time, but they fought through everything. They fought until the end. I commend them for that.’’

The Gators opened the game as if the nervousness they displayed in a semifinal win over top-seeded Goodyear Millennium had disappeared. Sparked by 3-pointers from junior Addie Putnam and McIntosh, Xavier led 16-13 after the first eight minutes.

McIntosh hit another trey early in the second quarter for a 21-18 lead, but then Valley Vista took over. The Monsoon went on an 11-0 run to take a lead they would not relinquish.

Gillom gave Oltrogge a pep talk in the tunnel before coming out for the second half.

“She’s been our leader all year and she’s done a good job,’’ Gillom said.

A large gathering of blue-clad Xavier fans continued to voice their support, but time began to creep up on the Gators in the second half.

There were about 3,000 Xavier fans, including 700 current students, as well as a number of XCP graduates.

Oltrogge’s outstanding career came to an end with 54.1 seconds left when she fouled out. Gillom hugged her as Oltrogge fought back tears. She will move on to Idaho State next season.

It was an emotional end for the Gators, but they deserve a great deal of credit for what they accomplished. They had the greatest season in school history.

Xavier scoring

Leilani McIntosh 20, Montana Oltrogge 13, Katie Hassett 7, Paris Moore 6, Payton Davis 6, Addie Putnam 3.

Bryant is among AIA honorees

Xavier Prep sports fans got a bonus on Wednesday night (Feb. 28) at halftime of the 6A Conference state championship basketball game at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena.

They saw someone familiar standing on the court as the team from Tempe Corona del Sol was honored by the Arizona Interscholastic Association 25 years after winning the title in 1993.

It was none other than XCP volleyball coach Lamar-Renee Bryant, who waved to the fans and joined them in support of the Xavier basketball team against Surprise Valley Vista.

Bryant led Xavier to the 6A volleyball title last fall.

Tennis triumphs against Sunnyslope

Xavier Prep’s tennis team won for the third time this season on Wednesday (Feb. 28), defeating visiting Phoenix Sunnyslope 9-0.

On Tuesday (Feb. 27), the Gators were playing at Phoenix Pinnacle, but that match was stopped by rain and will be resumed on Monday (March 5).

The Gators have another home match on Friday (March 2) against Scottsdale Desert Mountain and will participate in the Kiwanis North Phoenix Invitational on Saturday (March 3) at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.

Xavier 9, Sunnyslope 0


Lorelei Glidden def. Sunnyslope 6-2, 7-6 (7-5). Kate Straneva def. Sunnyslope 6-1, 6-1. Emily Good def. Sunnyslope 6-2, 6-0. Kate Stegman def. Sunnyslope 6-0, 6-1. Phoebe Ransco def. Sunnyslope 6-1, 6-0.


Glidden-Straneva def. Sunnyslope 8-1. Good-Armknecht def. Sunnyslope 8-0. Stegman-Ransco def. Sunnyslope 8-2.

Gator softball improves on its hitting

Xavier Prep still is looking for its first win of the season after dropping three games this week.

The Gators fell to Gilbert Perry 11-1 and Chandler Hamilton 11-0 in road games on Monday (Feb. 26) and Tuesday (Feb. 27) and returned to Petznick Field for its home opener on Wednesday (Feb. 28) to face Phoenix Pinnacle. Xavier started to hit the ball better but fell short 10-6.

Xavier returns to Petznick on March 6 for a game against Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor. First pitch is at 3:45 p.m.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

XCP tennis posts shutout of Gilbert High

Xavier Prep’s tennis team earned its second win in as many matches this season on Monday (Feb. 26), defeating host Gilbert High.

All singles matches were 6-0, 6-0 shutouts and all three doubles teams won by 8-0 scores.

Singles winners were Kate Straneva, Emily Good, Caroline Armknecht, Kate Stegman, Phoebe Ransco and Kate Greene.

Doubles teams were Straneva and Armknecht, Good and Stegman and Ransco and Greene.

The Gators return to the courts on Wednesday (Feb. 28) with a home match against Phoenix Sunnyslope.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Spring sports teams face busy first full week

Spring is here, at least sports-wise, and Xavier Prep’s five teams are in a full slate of action this week.

Softball has three games after going 0-2-2 in the Sunrise Mountain Invitational in Peoria over the weekend. The Gators played at Gilbert Perry on Monday (Feb. 26), will play at Chandler Hamilton on Tuesday (Feb. 27) and play their home opener at Petznick Field on Wednesday (Feb. 28) against Phoenix Pinnacle.

The tennis team was trying to make it two wins in a row by playing at Gilbert High on Monday. The team will play host to Phoenix Sunnyslope on Wednesday and Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Friday (March 2) and will compete in the Kiwanis North Phoenix Invitational on Saturday (March 3) at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.

Xavier’s five-time state champion beach volleyball team is due to hit the sand for the first time with a match on Wednesday against Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep at Scottsdale Ranch Park. The Gators will play for the second straight day on Thursday (March 1) all the way across the Valley in Surprise, where they will face Surprise Willow Canyon at the Surprise Community Park.

Wednesday also will be busy for XCP’s track and field athletes when they duel Gilbert Highland in their first meet of the season at the Brophy Sports Campus. On Friday, the Gators will participate in the Aztec Invitational at Tempe Corona del Sol.

On Monday night, Xavier’s club lacrosse team was due to play its third match of the season, against Phoenix Desert Vista at Pecos Park in Ahwatukee.

Last team standing -- will it be the Gators?

Xavier Prep defeated a strong Goodyear Millennium team in last week’s 6A Conference basketball semifinals, and now the Gators will face an opponent with a similar style in Valley Vista as the teams meet on Wednesday at 5 p.m. for the state championship at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena.

Valley Vista (24-6), the defending champion, is the No. 2 seed while Xavier (25-5) is No. 5. Xavier will be attempting to win the first state title in school history.

Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom said Valley Vista doesn’t have much size underneath the basket that Millennium did, “but overall they are balanced and their guards are fast like us.’’

Xavier has juniors Leilani McIntosh (point) and Paris Moore in the backcourt, and junior Addison Putnam on the wing, where she drains 3-point shots with regularity.

The Gators also have two strong inside players in 6-foot-2 senior Katie Hassett and 6-1 senior Montana Oltrogge, the latter as the team’s leading scorer at 21 points per game during the regular season.

Valley Vista has two key senior guards in Taylor Chavez and Terrysha Banner, senior wing/power forward Clarissa Rodarte and 6-1 freshman forward Marisa Davis.

The 5-10 Chavez has some of the best numbers in the state – 23.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 5.7 steals. She also has made 60 3-point shorts. The 5-5 Banner averages 14 points and 3.3 assists, with 46 3-point baskets. Rodarte averages 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds. And Davis averages 9.9 points ands 8.2 rebounds.

“It will be a battle but we feel we match up with them,’’ Gillom said. “Millennium was physical, and we don’t expect this one to be as much, but Valley Vista has good athletes and can run.’’

Nerves were a factor for Xavier in the early going against Millennium but Gillom doesn’t anticipate a repeat here, despite what is at stake.

“If we focus on what we’re doing and do what we need to do, we should be all right,’’ Gillom said.

One of Valley Vista’s losses was to 4A Conference champion Chandler Seton Catholic, one was to Gilbert Mesquite, which plays for the 5A Conference championship on Tuesday night (Feb. 27), and another to Millennium.

Xavier’s losses were to Mesquite (twice), Tucson Pueblo, Gilbert Highland and Phoenix Pinnacle.

Putnam, Moore have valuable roles for Xavier

Every basketball team needs its role players, and Xavier Prep is no exception. In fact, the Gators have two of the top players in the state when it comes to providing a specific element for success.

They are juniors Addison Putnam and Paris Moore.

The 5-foot-10 Putnam is Xavier’s main 3-point shooter and has made a big difference in countless games, putting the ball in the basket from virtually anywhere with a high-arcing shot that flies out of her left hand. Putnam connected on 60 3-pointers during the regular season.

The 5-11 Moore has a tough job every game trying to shut down the opponent’s top offensive player. She does it with a long reach, strong lateral movement and a burst of speed that enables her to convert turnovers into driving layups almost before anyone realizes what has happened.

Putnam admitted she “was nervous to shoot’’ in the early days of club ball about five years ago, but gradually developed a feel for the long shot and when to take it.

She has worked on her shot with Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom when Gillom was an assistant coach and this season as the person in charge.

“Coach has helped me a lot, given me confidence,’’ Putnam said. “In a game, she will tell me to take my shot if I’m open and tells me to keep shooting even when I have missed a few, that the shots will eventually start falling again.’’

Sometimes Putnam will face frustrating situations when defenses swarm her, such as with Goodyear Millennium in last week’s 6A Conference semifinals. She knows there are other ways that she can contribute and hopes to put everything together when the Gators meet Surprise Valley Vista for the state championship on Wednesday (Feb. 28) at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena.

“I can help out by setting up my teammates with good assists,’’ said Putnam, who averages 10 points, 1.6 assists and 1.9 steals on defense. “I am hoping that in this game, I can get that feeling and be able to help the team with some points.’’

Gillom is hopeful for the perfect storm against Valley Vista and that Putnam finds her shooting touch again.

“Those 3’s are a bonus for us,’’ Gillom said. “When she’s on, she can really knock them down.’’

Putnam would like Xavier to win a title for seniors such as Katie Hassett and Montana Oltrogge.

“We know how much it would mean to them,’’ Putnam said.

“This has already been a great season, playing with the team that I love. Game days are so much fun. The end of the game (a win) is a great experience.’’

Moore said the Gators were a bit nervous against Millennium, but were able to turn things around.

“It was kind of scary, knowing we were playing in a big place like that (ASU). But we started to say, “We got this,’ and were able to stay in the game. After the first quarter, we were being like family, like we always are. And it’s great to have everybody cheering us on. I think we will be more used to our surroundings this time.’’

Moore has been playing club ball with Putnam, Hassett, Oltrogge and junior point guard Leilani McIntosh for quite some time. That familiarity is what helped draw her to Xavier.

There is no doubt what her role is.

“Definitely defense,’’ Moore said. “Ever since I can remember, I have been on the best player (guarding) most of the time. I take a lot of pride knowing that is what I have to do. And if I happen to struggle, I have confidence that my teammates will help push me through it. Sometimes I can’t see a screen, but they usually tell me it’s coming.’’

Gillom said she just tells Moore to go out and do what she needs to do, get the job done.

“She knows that’s her job,’’ Gillom said. “On offense, she probably could score any time she wants, but she plays well within the team concept. She’s got those drives, too and she needs to learn how to finish them.’’

Moore tumbles to the floor quite often on defense and when she is driving toward the basket after making a steal.

“I just know I need to get back up and keep going,’’ she said.

Moore had good numbers across the board during the regular season – 7.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.6 steals.

Her older sister competes in track for Pima Community College in Tucson and Moore enjoys doubling up in track for Xavier in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays.

“I think I’m naturally fast and that helps carry me across the finish line,’’ she said. “I think playing basketball helps me with my footwork for track.’’

Believe it or not, Moore also has time to have a job at a pizzeria in east Phoenix. Not delivery, but if she had to, she could get the food to the intended destination in quick order.

That’s fast, and there will be more speed when the Gators return to the gym in 2018-19.

“We will lose our bigger players (to graduation), but we will be fast, maybe one of the fastest teams in the state,’’ she said.

Moore and Putnam should be able to provide XCP with the energy it needs.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Gators confident with Hassett under basket

After each Xavier Prep basketball game, Gators senior post player Katie Hassett has a conversation with her body.

A closer look reveals that it’s significantly more than a conversation.

“After a game, my body screams at me,’’ she said.

The nature of her position draws more focus to a physical style of play – plenty of bumps and bruises and the like while mixing it up underneath the basket.

Hassett can thank her two older brothers for making her tougher and stronger.

“Anybody who grows up with brothers and sisters in their family, they know the feeling where you’re pushing each other and rolling around,’’ she said.

With the help of ice bags and plenty of stretching, the 6-foot-2 Hassett prepares herself for the next game.

And the Gators’ next game not only is the biggest of the season for Hassett, but the biggest of her career.

Playing for a state championship doesn’t come around very often, and now Hassett and the Gators have a chance to win the first title in school history on Wednesday (Feb. 28) at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena. XCP’s opponent for the 5 p.m. tip-off is defending 6A Conference champion Surprise Valley Vista. Xavier is seeded fifth, Valley Vista No. 2.

Xavier is coming off a 50-48 conquest of top-seeded Goodyear Millennium in the semifinals on Feb. 21. Hassett came up with some key rebounds down the stretch to put the Gators in position for the win.

“I’m ecstatic,’’ Hassett said. “We all worked hard for this. Coach (Jennifer) Gillom has pushed us to the limit and we are there now. It’s been our goal since Day 1. We are so excited for the school, excited for everybody.’’

Rebounding and defense are Hassett’s primary contributions to the team, but she has been known to light up the scoreboard along the way. She owes much of her offensive improvement to post-practice sessions with Gillom, a former WNBA player with the Phoenix Mercury, an Olympic Gold Medal winner and a collegiate star at Ole Miss.

“My focus is on defensive play, and if you do that, the offense will eventually come for you. Whatever I can do to help,’’ said Hassett, who averaged 9.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1,6 blocked shots and 1.3 steals during the regular season.

Gillom is quick to point out Hassett’s value.

“She gives us a big presence inside. Her defense and rebounding are crucial for us,’’ Gillom said. “She is a defensive intimidator and on some nights, she gives us some offense as well. Since this is her last game, I have no doubt that she will give it all she has at both ends of the floor.’’

With all of Hassett’s improvement this season, there should be basketball life after Xavier. She said she has talked with several college coaches about “walking on’’ to their program and appears to be leaning toward Cornell College, a NCAA Division III school in Iowa. It also is good in academics, and she hopes to pursue a degree that will help her as a medical researcher or perhaps as a pediatrician.

If all goes well, she will be able to tell people what it’s like to win a state basketball title.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Softball not easy when you're freezing

Spectators and players were frozen due to blustery conditions and so was the score as Xavier Prep’s softball team finished with its second 8-8 tie in as many days on Friday (Feb. 23) in the Sunrise Mountain Tournament at Pioneer Park in Peoria.

The Gators tied Peoria Centennial after opening tournament play on Thursday (Feb. 22) with an 8-8 tie against Glendale Raymond S. Kellis and a 4-2 loss to Surprise Shadow Ridge.

Xavier was due to play one, perhaps two more games, as the tourney winds down on Saturday (Feb. 24), again at Pioneer Park.

Xavier scored twice in the first inning and four more times in the second for what appeared to be a comfortable lead against Centennial.

Mercedes Silva looked good in the early going in the pitching circle, particularly since she was making her third start of the tournament.

But Centennial rallied for an 8-6 lead by scoring eight runs in the fourth inning, including a wind-blown solo home run. With a time limit looming, Xavier scored twice to tie it and was getting close to winning it before leaving the bases loaded in its half of the fourth.

Xavier coach Carrie Markham is using this tournament to judge her players in more competitive situations, moving them around to different positions in the process to determine their versatility.

The Gators won’t have much time to rest up as they jump directly into 6A Conference Premier Region play during the coming week. They play back-to-back road games against Gilbert Perry and Chandler Hamilton on Monday (Feb. 26) and Tuesday (Feb. 27), respectively.

Stronger tennis teams keep Gators on their toes

Times have changed for high school girls’ tennis.

Xavier Prep coach Laurie Martin recalled the days “when you only had to worry about maybe one other team. Now there’s at least five that could end up winning a state championship.’’

So that means Xavier will need to be close to the top of its game more often as it heads through the 2018 season that began on Thursday (Feb. 22).

The Gators began the season on a strong note, defeating visiting Mesa Mountain View 7-2. Xavier returns to action on Monday (Feb. 26) with a road encounter against Gilbert High.

“We have good talent this year and have good depth. We’re going to have to be ready every time we go out there,’’ Martin said.

One of the highlights of the opening match was the play of junior Emily Good, the Gators’ No. 6 singles player. Despite battling the flu, she gutted it out, according to Martin, with a 6-2, 6-1 win over her Mountain View opponent.

Junior Tristanne Dechoux will take the No. 1 spot on most occasions, with sophomore Erica Stutz at No. 2. Those two also combine as Xavier’s top doubles team.

Four other key players are senior Caroline Armknecht, sophomore Emily Even, senior Maddy Corley and sophomore Lorelei Glidden. Martin hopes to have junior Jessica Mirmelli (injury) back in the lineup soon as well as senior Kate Straneva, who is on a school trip.

Thursday’s result

Xavier Prep 7, Mesa Mountain View 2


Tristanne Dechoux (X) lost to Mountain View 6-2, 6-0.

Erica Stutz (X) def. Mountain View 6-0, 6-2.

Emily Even (X) def. Mountain View 6-3, 6-1.

Maddy Corley (X) def. Mountain View 6-0, 6-0.

Lorelei Glidden (X) def. Mountain View 6-0, 6-0.

Emiy Good (X) def. Mountain View 6-2, 6-1.


Dechoux-Stutz (X) lost to Mountain View 8-5.

Even-Corley (X) def. Mountain View 8-0.

Glidden-Caroline Armknecht (X) def. Mountain View 8-1.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Gators on the verge of first basketball title

The security guard who was monitoring the hallway outside the girls’ basketball locker room at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena watched a group of players jumping up and down and screaming at the top of their lungs as they sprinted past him.

“I’ve seen so many teams go through here with tears. It’s nice to see one with smiles once in awhile,’’ he said.

Xavier’s Gators say amen to that, because they are the team wearing the smiles.

The way they began Wednesday night’s (Feb. 21) 6A Conference semifinal, one would not have believed that the 5th-seeded Gators would have much of a chance against top-seeded Goodyear Millennium.

Every Xavier shot seemed to hit the rim and bounce away. Could the Gators withstand the cold spell?

The team made its jitters disappear late in the first half, when it battled back to trail by just four at halftime after facing a double-digit deficit.

The second half was a fight to the finish. When Xavier senior forward Katie Hassett corralled a Millennium miss as the final seconds ticked away, reality set in and the Gators had held on for a 50-48 victory to earn a shot at the school’s first-ever hoops title.

Xavier will face second-seeded defending state champion Surprise Valley Vista for the state championship next Wednesday (Feb. 28) at Wells Fargo. Tipoff is 5 p.m. Valley Vista defeated third-seeded Gilbert 59-44 earlier on Wednesday.

How great was this?

Gators coach Jennifer Gillom was happy to place a phone call to a special person – her mother, Ella, who was back home out of state.

“I said, “Mom, we did it!’ ’’ Gillom said. “She usually goes to bed early, but she wanted to stay up for this one.’’

Only four Xavier players put points on the board, but they got the job done.

Senior forward Montana Oltrogge led the way with 22 points, and junior point guard Leilani McIntosh had a huge second half. She scored 14 of her 16 points after intermission, including a pair of 3-pointers.

And even though Hassett did not score, she came up with some key rebounds and played solid defense against Millennium’s sizable front line. The Tigers were looking for their second straight appearance in the title game.

Hassett was out briefly after tweaking a knee in the fourth quarter, but had the biggest rebound of the game came when her grab of an offensive miss allowed Xavier to maintain possession with a little less than a minute to play.

Oltrogge was the recipient of Hassett’s board work, completing the sequence by getting a pass and scoring on a reverse layup to make it 50-48 with 36 seconds left.

Hassett walked out of the locker room afterward with an ice bag taped to her knee.

Asked how she was doing, she responded with a thumbs-up signal and said, “We’re good.’’

Oltrogge, too, had ice on her legs to help calm down a case of the shin splints that had been bothering her during the second half of the season and forced her to miss about two weeks.

“It’s not nearly as bad as it had been,’’ she said, agreeing that the extra rest had helped.

And her reaction to the win?

“I’m still kind of speechless,’’ she said. “My first three years, we went out in the first round. Now to be here and actually have this happen, it’s amazing.’’

Oltrogge and Gillom agreed that the Gators were a bundle of nerves when the game began.

“Our nerves were all over the place,’’ Gillom said. “When we were down by only four (at halftime) against a good team like Millennium, we knew we had a chance. It says a lot about the heart this team has. It was a matter of keeping the faith.’’

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hook, Xavier celebrate another soccer crown

Earning a soccer championship requires a lot of skill, a player’s survival instinct with hand-to-hand combat and, yes, even head-to-head combat.

Xavier Prep’s Nicole Hook can attest to the latter scenario. She was right in the middle of all the action in Saturday’s (Feb. 10) 6A state championship game against Gilbert Perry.

After sitting out for about 17 minutes with what appeared to be a broken nose late in the first half, she returned to the field at Gilbert Campo Verde High. In the second half, she headed a ball into the net off a corner kick from teammate Abby Hubbard with 22:32 left in regulation and it was enough for the Gators to hold on for a 1-0 victory, giving them their second straight title and 10th overall.

Top-seeded Xavier finished 15-3-2 and No. 2 seed Perry finished 22-3. Perry had been the only Arizona team to defeat the Gators, and the other two losses were to California teams in a holiday tournament.

Xavier and Perry traded numerous scoring opportunities through the first half. It appeared that Perry might have received a break when Hook was forced to leave with blood dripping from her nose after she and a Perry player smacked heads. Xavier head athletic trainer Laurie White worked as quickly as she could to get Hook back in the lineup, but that would not come until Hook passed concussion protocol.

Hook said she was a bit worried at first if the bleeding could be stopped and she could return.

Xavier coach Barb Chura also was concerned “about the anchor of our back line who had been playing so dominant.’’

Anchor of the back line and a key element of Xavier’s “set pieces’’ – plays off free kicks, corner kicks or throw-ins.

During the season, Hook had scored on such a play on a few occasions.

Another opportunity came at the 22:32 mark of the second half, when Hubbard’s kick sailed into the air space in front of the goal and Hook used her height to score the most important goal of her career.

“It was a tough game, and it was a perfect (corner) kick by Abby,’’ said Hook, who was bumped again during the game’s final moments.

Of closing out her prep career in such a manner, Hook said, “It was amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better team to do this with.’’

After Hook’s goal, it was up to Xavier senior goalkeeper Kinsey Ehmann and the Gators’ defense to try to hold on.

Perry had several corner kicks and free kicks, but could not get the equalizer.

Xavier tried to get and maintain possession any way it could.

With about 10 minutes left, a Perry shot skittered across the front of the goal but did not go in, instead rolling just out of trouble on the left side.

“It was a little scary, but I have a great defense backing me up,’’ Ehmann said.

The clock indicated 8:27 when junior Kyla Ferry attempted to leap over a hunched-over Perry player and get to the ball in midair. Ferry was bumped during the process and whirled around in the air like a rotor from a helicopter. The crowd oohed and aahed on that one.

Ehmann turned away a free kick and a corner kick with less than a minute left. She got the ball with :10 showing, looked back at the clock and booted the ball high in the air. It was her fourth straight shutout of the playoffs and Chura pumped her fists in the air.

“It was a good feeling,’’ Ehmann said. “I was really happy that we won.’’

Xavier lost seven players to graduation from last year’s title team and had just a few starters back this season and quite a few young players.

“This was amazing, a real testament to all of their hard work,’’ said Chura, who joined assistant coach Rafael Rios for team picture with the trophy afterward. “It is really hard to get here. I don’t think people realize that.’’

Gators seeded 5th, meet Horizon in opener

Xavier Prep’s basketball team was announced on Saturday (Feb. 10) as the fifth seed in the 6A Conference state tournament that begins on Wednesday (Feb. 14).

The Gators, who finished 22-5 during the regular season, will open play at the Activity Center against No. 12 seed Phoenix Horizon. Xavier defeated Horizon 71-43 in the Highland Thanksgiving tournament on Nov. 24 in Gilbert.

The winner will advance to a quarterfinal game on Feb. 17 against the winner of a first-round game between No. 13 Phoenix Mountain Pointe and No. 4 Gilbert Highland.

6A Conference state basketball tournament

First round, Wednesday, Feb. 14. All games, 6:30 p.m.

(Seedings in parentheses)

Chandler High (16) at Goodyear Millennium (1), Tucson High (9) at Mesa Red Mountain (8), Phoenix Horizon (12) at Phoenix Xavier Prep (5), Phoenix Mountain Pointe (13) at Gilbert Highland (4), Mesa Dobson (14) at Gilbert High (3), Chandler Hamilton (11) at Scottsdale Desert Mountain (6), Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor (10) at Phoenix Pinnacle (7), Phoenix North (15) at Surprise Valley Vista (2).

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

XCP finishes 22-5, awaits state seeding

Xavier Prep’s basketball team finished its regular season on Tuesday night (Feb. 6) with a 58-42 road victory over Catholic rival Phoenix St. Mary’s.

Xavier finished the season at 22-5 under head coach Jennifer Gillom.

The Gators could end up anywhere from 4 through 6 when the 6A Conference state tournament begins on Feb. 14. That means they would have a home game in the first round on Feb. 14. If the Gators were to win that first one, they also likely would have another home game on Feb.  17.

Semifinals are Feb. 21 and finals are Feb. 28, both at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena.

The final bracketing will be determined in part by the outcome of eight “play-in’’ games for teams 9-24 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s power rankings.

The top eight seeds, of which Xavier is one, will know their fates on Saturday (Feb. 10) in a bracket show that will be streamed live on

Xavier is led by senior inside players Montana Oltrogge and Katie Hassett, and junior guards Leilani McIntosh, Paris Moore and Addison Putnam. Oltrogge sat out the last few weeks of the regular season with shin splints, so it is unknown what her status will be for the playoffs.

6A Conference automatic qualifiers

(Seeds will be determined on Feb. 10.)

Scottsdale Desert Mountain

Gilbert High

Gilbert Highland

Goodyear Millennium

Phoenix Pinnacle

Mesa Red Mountain

Surprise Valley Vista

Phoenix Xavier Prep

Play-in games

(Thursday, Feb. 8 – seedings in parentheses)

Phoenix Desert Vista (24) at Tucson High (9)

Chandler High (17) at Gilbert Perry (16)

Yuma Cibola (18) at Phoenix North (15)

Mesa Westwood (21) at Phoenix Horizon (12)

Tucson Rincon/University (22) at Chandler Hamilton (11)

Avondale Westview (20) at Phoenix Mountain Pointe (13)

Glendale Copper Canyon (19) at Mesa Dobson (14)

Anthem Boulder Creek (23) at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor (10)