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, January 25, 2017

Defense-minded Gators put squeeze on Basha

The push for momentum toward the postseason has begun, and Xavier Prep’s basketball team would like to build as much of it as it can over the final four games of the regular season.
The Gators used one of their best defensive efforts of the season and a strong all-around game from junior forward Katie Hassett in a 38-30 victory over visiting Chandler Basha on Tuesday night (Jan. 24) at the Activity Center.
Xavier raised its overall record to 18-4. The team’s victory total matches that of the 2015-16 squad that finished 18-9.
“We’re just trying to piece together some wins,’’ said Xavier coach Stephen Moss. “It doesn’t matter if it’s by two points or 10 or more, it’s a win.’’
Xavier was the defensive aggressor from the opening tip. The Gators monitored the Bears more closely than a win at Basha on Jan. 6, rotated off screens and cut off many of the passing lanes.
“The defense was excellent, and that’s the way it needs to be every night,’’ Moss said.
Hassett, meanwhile was more active offensively and more aggressive with her rebounding.
She led the team with 17 points. Sophomores Addison Putnam and Leilani McIntosh each scored 9.
“Katie played great. She really stepped it up. That’s what it’s going to take for us as we continue,’’ Moss said.
The Gators now take to the road for their next two games, on Friday (Jan. 27) at Chandler High and on Jan. 31 at Chandler Hamilton. Both defeated XCP earlier this season.

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