DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four 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, December 5, 2015

Gators hold birthday bash, dash past Basha

Xavier Prep basketball players gave coach Stephen Moss a nice birthday gift on Friday (Dec. 4) – a 67-46 victory over Chandler Basha in the Gators’ home opener.
XCP raced to an 18-1 first-quarter advantage and never looked back to run its record to 5-0. Basha (2-4) played well defensively in the third quarter and looked as if it might get back into it, but the Xavier lead remained in double digits.
Senior captain Vanessa Murphy had another outstanding night with 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. The points total included a pair of 3-point baskets.
“It was a great day,’’ Moss said. “Our three teams (varsity, JV and freshman) won convincingly, and we can build on that.’’
The Gators continue to work hard in practice.
“Between that and the summer league, they (players) can see that this is the payoff,’’ Moss said.
As he had in the previous four games, Moss used most of his roster.
“I like to play everybody,’’ he said. “Some of these girls have been here when things weren’t so good, so getting them in the game and being a part of this is a good thing.’’
Sophomore Alana Kelley also played a key role against Basha with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Freshman point guard Leilani McIntosh continued to impress with 11 points and five assists.
Next up on the Xavier agenda is Phoenix Pinnacle, which will host the Gators on Monday night (Dec. 7). It will be the first of three back-to-back-to-back games. Xavier travels to face Peoria Liberty on Tuesday night (Dec. 8) and returns home to face Phoenix Desert Vista on Wednesday night (Dec. 9).

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