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, January 9, 2016

Hot-and-cold Gators can't control Horizon

Which is the real Xavier Prep basketball team?
Is it the one that fell behind host Phoenix Horizon by 10 points in the first quarter on Friday night (Jan. 8), the one that rallied to lead by eight in the third quarter, or the one that couldn’t hold that lead and fell to the Huskies 54-44?
The choice probably is all of the above. You never seem to know from game to game.
The Gators continue to struggle to maintain their consistency.
XCP warmed up after a cold spell in the opening quarter to take a 23-21 lead at halftime as senior forward Vanessa Murphy scored eight points, including a pair of three-pointers. The team also received a spark from sophomore forward Montana Oltrogge, who was playing in her first game since having to sit out much of last season with a knee injury.
Xavier (10-6) had a 34-26 lead with 1:38 left in the third on two free throws by Murphy, but Horizon (7-6) went on a 7-0 run in the final moments to trail by just one going into the fourth.
The Gators were careless with their passes and coach Stephen Moss told the team during the break that “we are killing ourselves.’’
In the fourth, Horizon point guard and captain Leah Goodman went to work.
The Gators could not stop the 5-foot-2 senior. She scored 13 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth, three more than Xavier did as a team.
Xavier has not had a home game since Dec. 14, but will have two this coming week, against Gilbert Perry on Tuesday (Jan. 12) and Gilbert High on Thursday (Jan. 14).

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