Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

XCP hoops seeded 2nd, faces tough road

If Xavier Prep is to win its first state basketball championship, the Gators will have to do it the hard way.

The 6A Conference seedings and pairings were announced by the Arizona Interscholastic Association on Saturday (Feb. 9) and Xavier got the No. 2 seed behind top-seeded Chandler Hamilton.

That means the Gators will be in the bottom half of the bracket, which without question is stronger than the top half.

The bottom bracket is where third-seeded Gilbert Perry, sixth-seeded two-time defending state champion Surprise Valley Vista, and seventh-seeded Scottsdale Chaparral reside.

And there is one lower seed that lurks in the bottom-bracket pond, and that would be No. 15 Phoenix Desert Vista, which is Xavier’s opponent in the opening round on Wednesday (Feb. 13) at Xavier (7 p.m. tipoff).

Xavier defeated Desert Vista 61-49 at Desert Vista on Dec. 7, but the Thunder figure to give the Gators all they can handle.

The Gators also defeated Chaparral on Dec. 14 in Scottsdale.

Chaparral will meet No. 10 seed Chandler High in the first round, and the winner of that game would meet Xavier in the second round if Xavier defeats Desert Vista.

Xavier split two games with Perry in 6A Premier Region play. Perry will open against Valley Vista, which defeated Xavier for last year’s title. One of those two is a potential opponent for Xavier in the semifinals should the Gators advance that far.

As they have all season, the Gators will be led by their three senior guards – Leilani McIntosh, Addie Putnam and Paris Rasheed-Moore.

McIntosh keeps the offense running as smoothly as possible from the point. Putnam is the long-range shooting specialist. And Rasheed-Moore might be playing the best of all at the moment at both ends of the floor.

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