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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gators run away with win in hoops opener

Everywhere you looked on Monday (Nov. 21), Xavier Prep’s Gators were there, all over the floor.
Their shooting, rebounding, passing, stealing, running provided all the elements of a big basketball victory – just the way it should be.
The 84-12 season-opening triumph over visiting next-door neighbor Phoenix Central has Gators coach Stephen Moss and his players hoping for more good things down the road.
A 19-3 first-quarter run by XCP left little doubt as to what the game’s outcome would be. By the fourth quarter, there was a running clock (by rule, signifying a 30-point differential). The junior-varsity and freshman games also went to a running clock in Xavier victories.
The first game has its share of nerves, so could Moss get a true evaluation of his team with such a large point spread?
“You do and you don’t,’’ he said. “We didn’t have a (preseason) scrimmage, and we needed to get out on the floor.’’
Even without junior forward Alana Kelley (out with sore knee as a precaution), the Gators dominated.
Sophomore guards Leilani McIntosh and Paris Moore used their quickness to assert themselves on offense and defense. A pair of 6-foot-1 juniors, Montana Oltrogge and Katie Hassett, worked together under the basket.
“We played pretty well,’’ Moss said. “Katie and Montana should continue to get better inside. Paris is a lot faster than last year and Leilani is a lot stronger. We have two of the more potent guards around.’’
Xavier had five players in double figures. McIntosh led the way with 19 points, followed by Oltrogge (18), Moore (12), Addison Putnam (12) and Hassett (10). Brittany Robinson hit a pair of 3-point shots and Putnam added another.
The Gators will allow their Thanksgiving meal to digest and then hit the floor bright and early on Friday (Nov. 25) in the opening round of the Scorpion Classic at Desert Edge High in Goodyear.
Xavier will meet Peoria Sunrise Mountain at 9 a.m. and play a second game at noon against either Glendale Raymond S. Kellis or Phoenix Maryvale.

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