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, January 14, 2017

Gators can't keep up with Mesquite's pace

Time after time, shot after shot, wave after wave . . .
Gilbert Mesquite’s Wildcats just didn’t run out of energy.
And Xavier Prep’s Gators couldn’t manage to keep pace as Mesquite rolled to a 70-50 non-conference basketball victory on Friday night (Jan. 13) at the Activity Center.
Mesquite, the No. 1 team in 5A Conference power points, ran its record to 19-1, while Xavier fell to 15-4. Xavier scored a 68-37 road victory over Mesa Desert Ridge on Thursday (Jan. 12).
The cutting and passing, bobbing and weaving and defensive pressure aided Mesquite from the opening tip.
The Wildcats’ offense focused on two primary players – junior forward Lauren Gustin and junior point guard Shaylee Gonzales. Gustin scored 24 points, a lot of those on passes from Gonzales on pick-and-rolls.
Gonzales, meanwhile, totaled 18 points, most of them on drives to the basket.
Xavier put 6-2 junior Katie Hassett and/or 6-2 junior Montana Oltrogge on Gustin, but to little avail. Gustin showed agility moving around the court.
Oltrogge was the Gators’ top scorer with 15 points. Xavier connected on eight 3-point shots in an attempt to stay close. Oltrogge had one 3-pointer, senior Brittany Robinson had three, sophomore Addison Putnam had two, junior Payton  Davis had one and junior point guard Leilani McIntosh had one (11 points).
There were some foul discrepancies that favored Mesquite in the second half and Xavier coach Stephen Moss continued to chirp about those to the officials. After awhile, they had heard enough and whistled Moss for a technical foul with 3:17 left in the game.
Next on Xavier’s agenda are two road games this week, on opposite sides of the Valley. Gilbert Perry is the first stop, on Tuesday (Jan. 17), then Anthem Boulder Creek on Friday (Jan. 20).

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