She had seen enough of her players as an assistant coach the last few years to get a good sense of how things might turn out.
“They (players) were asking questions, were very focused. I knew they were going to have a decent game,’’ she said.
The Gators didn’t disappoint, rolling to an easy 73-29 victory over the Coyotes in Xavier’s first home game of the season at the Activity Center. Because of the big lead, the game was played with a running clock in the fourth quarter.
Xavier raised its record to 4-3, while Skyline fell to 1-4. Xavier’s junior-varsity and freshman teams also began their home seasons with big wins.
Gillom knows that team chemistry can ebb and flow during the season, but she hopes it will be more flow for the Gators.
“Our team chemistry is clicking right now,’’ she said.
The Gators appear to apply full-court pressure in the early part of games with the theory that it will help create turnovers and build a lead that will allow Gillom more flexibility with her lineup.
It happened against Skyline, when the Gators outscored their opponent 31-5 in the first quarter. In the second and third quarters, it was more of the same.
“It keeps us in shape, keeps our intensity going,’’ Gillom said.
Would this plan create a tendency for opponents to know what to expect early in the game?
“They might expect it, but they still will have to defeat it,’’ Gillom said.
With the contest well in hand, Gillom got a chance to extend playing time for some of her reserves.
“I wanted to get them some time, more experience because we are going to need them,’’ Gillom said.
Ten players scored against Skyline, led by 19 points from senior inside player Katie Hassett.
Juniors Addison Putnam and Paris Rasheed-Moore were next with 14 points each. Putnam hit three 3-point baskets in the first half. Rasheed-Moore got many of her points from steals or steals and passes from teammates after their steals.
Xavier will go back out on the road on Tuesday (Dec. 5) against Mesa Mountain View and return home on Wednesday (Dec. 6) against Glendale Mountain Ridge. Both games begin at 7 p.m.