It was the Tale of Two Strategies for Xavier Prep’s basketball team in its first two games of the annual Scorpion Shootout at Goodyear Desert Edge on Friday (Nov. 25).
The Gators ran like the wind in their opening-round game and Peoria Sunrise Mountain couldn’t keep pace as Xavier recorded an 84-12 victory.
In the second game against Phoenix Maryvale, XCP had to be patient as the opponent stood and dribbled the ball for nearly the full eight-minute first quarter.
The Gators seemed like they weren’t sure what to do at first, holding a 2-0 lead going into the second quarter. Then they began to open things up and rolled to a 54-14 triumph.
That allowed Xavier to climb into the winner’s bracket on Saturday (Nov. 26). The team will face either Maricopa or host Desert Edge in a semifinal game at 4:30 p.m. If the Gators win, they will get the chance to win the tournament for the second year in a row with a 7:30 p.m. title game in the main gym. If the Gators lose, they would play a 7:30 p.m. game in the auxiliary gym for third place.
“That is what happens when you are the defending tournament champion. People try to throw you off any way they can,’’ Xavier coach Stephen Moss said of Maryvale’s early tactics. “We like to score at a high pace, run and gun, like we did in the first game. We run our offense off our defense. But there is a time when you have to adjust, and we were able to do that.’’
Xavier (3-0) had four players score in double figures against Sunrise Mountain. Point guard Leilani McIntosh totaled 29, forward Montana Oltrogge had 14, guard Paris Moore had 12 and forward Katie Hassett had 10.
McIntosh again led the Gators in the second game with 17 points. Wing player Addison Putnam was next in line with 9. Xavier struggled with its shooting in the first half or the point differential could have been more significant.
Not all the news was good for the Gators.
According to Moss, the team has lost junior forward Alana Kelley for seven to eight weeks due to a knee injury. That, he said, means McIntosh, Oltrogge and Hassett will have to ramp up their productivity to make up for the loss of Kelley.
Kelley was the Scorpion Shootout’s MVP last year, and went on to average 13.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.