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.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Gators hope badminton magic lasts 1 more day

Doubles, anyone?
Xavier Prep’s badminton team hasn’t had to worry about it in its first two matches of the Division I state tournament.
Translated, that means that the Gators’ singles players have been so successful that doubles have not been necessary.
Whether that trend will continue will play itself out on Thursday night (Oct. 27) when Xavier meets Gilbert Perry for the state championship at Phoenix Sunnyslope. Start time is 6:30.
Xavier advanced with a 5-1 semifinal victory over Glendale Mountain Ridge on Wednesday night (Oct. 26) at Phoenix Desert Vista. Perry earned its title-match trip with a 5-1 win over Mesa Skyline. Perry did not have to play doubles, either.
Unbeaten Xavier will be attempting to win its fourth title in a row and 10th overall.
The Gators met Perry on Oct. 4 at Xavier, and came away with a 6-3 victory.
If anyone has the upper hand in doubles, it might be Xavier. The Gators can boast the state champions (Tatum Clarke, Annie Kamps) and consolation winners (Emily Woodrow, Kiana Valentova-Macdonald).
But Perry’s doubles teams certainly should be formidable. They are state runner-ups Dominique Garcia and Tori Albin and fourth-place finishers Jillian Lagasca and Katie Cross.
Xavier was able to keep its doubles teams fresh by winning five of its singles matches against Mountain Ridge.
The key match was the No. 5 spot. The Gators’ Maddie Reinhart won the first game against Mountain Ridge’s Samantha Guerrero, 11-9, but the match was in danger of going to a third game because Guerrero led most of the way. Reinhart, however, rallied for a 13-12 win, and combined with Misaal Irfan’s victory in the No. 6 singles, the Gators could breathe a sigh of relief.

Xavier-Mountain Ridge semifinal results
Xavier 5, Mountain Ridge 1
MacKenzie Whitten, MR, def. Tatum Clarke, X, 7-11, 11-7, 11-1.
Emily Woodrow, X, def. Allison Price, MR, 11-3, 5-11, 11-1.
Annie Kamps, X, def. Gaby Nichols, MR, 11-6, 11-8.
Kiana Valentova-Macdonald, X, def. Hannah Kirby, MR, 11-6, 11-4.
Maddie Reinhart, X, def. Samantha Guerrero, MR, 11-9, 13-12.
Misaal Irfan, X, def. Brianna Adamo, MR, 11-6, 11-2.

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