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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Xavier carries basketball momentum

Xavier Prep’s basketball team is on a roll. Can the Gators carry that momentum into the Division I state tournament?
On Tuesday night (Feb. 9), XCP finished the regular season with its sixth straight win, 76-59 over host Mesa Dobson.
Now the Gators (18-8) must wait until Sunday (Feb. 14) at 10:30 a.m., when the Arizona Interscholastic Association will announce its final power points rankings and state tournament bracketing. Games will begin next week.
Senior Vanessa Murphy came up with one of her best overall games against Dobson, scoring 27 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. She missed only one of her 11 field-goal attempts and connected on four three-pointers.
Xavier had three other players score in double figures – freshman Paris Rasheed-Moore (14), junior Brittany Robinson (12) and sophomore Alana Kelley (10).
Xavier also converted 13 of its 14 free-throw attempts as a team.
All of Robinson’s four baskets were from three-point range. Kelley had 10 rebounds.
Freshman Leilani McIntosh had Xavier’s other three-pointer, dished out five assists and had three steals.
The AIA’s most recent rankings came out on Wednesday (Feb. 10). Xavier was listed at No. 7, behind top-rated Gilbert Mesquite, Surprise Valley Vista, Chandler Hamilton, Goodyear Millennium, Phoenix Desert Vista and Scottsdale Chaparral.
If the final rankings do not change, Xavier would receive a first-round bye and open play at home on Feb. 19 against the winner of a Feb. 17 game between the No. 23 seed and the No. 10 seed.
As of Wednesday, the No. 23 seed was Mesa Mountain View and the No. 10 seed was Mesa Red Mountain. Xavier has defeated both of those teams.

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