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, April 23, 2016

James-Craft doubles team advances to state semis

With one order of business taken care of on Saturday (April 23) – a quarterfinal victory in the Division I state tournament at the Scottsdale Ranch Park Tennis Center -- the Xavier Prep doubles team of Caroline James and Jordan Craft could put their focus on the next agenda item.
On to the prom !!
“We wanted to make sure we have enough time to get ready,’’ said Craft, a junior.
James and Craft, the No. 5 seed, earned a spot in the April 30 semifinals at the Paseo Racquet Club in Glendale with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Chandler Hamilton’s Anamika Deokar and Emily Smith. James, a senior, and Craft had to rally from a 3-0 deficit in the second set against the No. 4 seed.
“We didn’t let ourselves get down,’’ said James, who has signed a letter of intent to play at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. “Coach (Laurie) Martin told us to believe it, that we could come back.’’
James got a measure of revenge against the Hamilton tandem. She and freshman Tristanne Dechoux lost to them during the regular season.
“They (Hamilton players) are a good doubles team. It was a good battle, back and forth,’’ Martin said. “I think our girls gave them a lot of different looks.’’
Said Craft: "They (Hamilton) played really well. We were consistent with our shots.''
Dechoux also had reached Saturday’s singles quarterfinals as the No. 5 seed, but fell 6-4, 6-3 to No. 4 seed Chloe Weihs of Peoria Centennial.
Assistant coach Amanda Martin monitored Dechoux’s match and said she “was impatient with some of her shots. But she is a freshman and the other girl is a senior. Tristanne did a really good job reaching this point. She is going to continue to grow and become a great player.’’
Xavier’s second doubles team of the tournament, No. 7-seeded sophomores Caroline Armknecht and Madeline Corley lost in Friday’s (April 22) first round. They took Anthem Boulder Creek’s Torye Celleja and Ally Weber to three sets but fell 6-1, 1-6 and 4-6.
The team portion of the state tournament begins on Wednesday (April 27). Xavier, aiming for its fifth straight Division I title and 19th overall, will be the top seed and will play host to 16th-seeded Centennial in the first round at 3 p.m. The winner of that match would meet Phoenix Arcadia or Phoenix Pinnacle in the second round on May 4.

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