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, December 16, 2017

Gators play through the bruises to pop Perry

Xavier Prep played its first 6A Conference Premier Region game on Friday night (Dec. 15), and Gators coach Jennifer Gillom wasn’t too surprised about how it played out in her team’s 68-49 victory at Gilbert Perry.

Xavier had had it relatively easy in some of the games leading up to this one, but Gillom figured that would not be the case against the Pumas.

“It was physical, and we knew it would be,’’ Gillom said.

“We did not shoot very well, but we made up for it in other ways. We played hard – the way I wanted. We got some steals and we crashed the boards, and those things led to easier shots.’’

A few of the Gators were nursing a few war wounds (bruises) afterward, but did not appear to be too worse for wear.

Xavier (8-3 overall, 1-0 region) outscored Perry (6-5, 1-1) 21-7 in the first quarter and had a 40-22 lead at halftime.The Gators’ defense took over in the third quarter, holding the Pumas to just six points. Perry attemped to get back into it in the fourth, but by then it was too late.

The Gators had three players score in double figures and two others were just one point shy.

Point guard Leilani McIntosh scored 16 points to lead the way, while wing player Addison Putnam and forward Montana Oltrogge each had 15. Putnam connected on three 3-pointers in the second half, half of the team’s total on the night.

“The type of play in our (region) is tough, so it’s good to get that first one,’’ Gillom said. “We expect everybody to play tough against us.’’

Xavier will have a much-needed break in the early part of next week, allowing the players to heal. They will have three practice days in a row – Thursday (Dec. 21), Friday (Dec. 22) and Saturday (Dec. 23) before Christmas, and in the days following the holiday will play in a holiday invitational at Mesa Red Mountain.

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