A year ago, Xavier Prep’s basketball team was eliminated from the big-school state tournament with a loss at home in the first round.
It happened again on Tuesday night (Feb. 14) when Phoenix Mountain Pointe went on a 23-9 fourth-quarter run and stunned the Gators 51-47 at the Activity Center.
Xavier, the seventh seed in the 6A Conference tournament, finished 20-7. Mountain Pointe, the 10th seed, climbed to 22-9 and faces second-seeded, defending champion Chandler Hamilton on the road in a quarterfinal game on Friday night (Feb. 17).
“That’s two years in a row this has happened,’’ said Xavier coach Stephen Moss. “To lose like that is disappointing.’’
The loss overshadowed one of the team’s top individual scoring efforts of the season, by junior forward Montana Oltrogge.
She scored all of Xavier’s 12 points in the first quarter, had 19 at the half and finished with 29. Nobody else was even close – junior forward Katie Hassett, senior guard Brittany Robinson and sophomore guard Paris Moore each had six points.
Moss tried to explain the late-game trouble for his team.
“We couldn’t run our offense the way we had been earlier in the game. Our guard play wasn’t where it needed to be,’’ he said.
“This is the time of the year when you aren’t going to get any second chances, no tomorrows if you don’t play like you should.’’
Moss applauded the effort by Oltrogge, but said she got tired in the second half, particularly on defense.
Mountain Pointe trailed by 10 points entering the final quarter, so you just knew the Pride were going to scratch and claw and do whatever they could to get back in the game.
Once the run started, it didn’t take long to see that Xavier might not be able to hold on. Mountain Pointe did pretty much whatever it wanted at both ends of the floor.