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.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Xavier hoops runs into roadblock

It was one of those nights that you hope never happens but know that it probably will because no team is perfect.

Not many things go right, and you end up in a place where you don’t want to be – on the losing end.

No matter what Xavier Prep’s basketball team did on Friday night (Feb. 2), nothing seemed to go right.

Host Phoenix Pinnacle wasn’t exactly poetry in motion, but compared to the Gators, it was.

The Pioneers were in constant motion at both ends of the floor, and the Gators often stood around like statues. They watched as Pinnacle crashed the boards and when the Pioneers applied defensive pressure, seldom came to the ball to help out their teammates.

The contest remained close most of the way, but Pinnacle was able to come away with a 58-53 victory.

Xavier had a five-game winning streak snapped and slipped to 21-5. The team plays its final game of the regular season on Tuesday night (Feb. 6) at Catholic rival Phoenix St. Mary’s. Pinnacle also is 21-5.

About the only things that worked for XCP were the shooting touch of junior Addison Putnam (five 3-pointers), who scored 17 points, and the play of junior Leilani McIntosh, who totaled 16.

Xavier led by a point after the first quarter but was unable to pull away. Pinnacle had a two-point advantage at halftime.

Pinnacle led by eight with about three minutes to go in the third quarter, but just two entering the fourth.

The Gators led by two early in the fourth on a three-pointer by junior Truly Helton. That would be Xavier’s last lead of the night.

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