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 27, 2018

Gators win 20th game, key player injured

Xavier Prep’s basketball team won its 20th game of the season on Friday night (Jan. 26), but in some ways felt like its 20th loss.

One big way, actually.

Katie Hassett, a 6-foot-2 senior, had to be helped off the court due to an injury to her right knee with about 2 ½ minutes remaining in Xavier’s 45-35 victory over visiting Chandler High at the Activity Center.

The seriousness of the injury is not known, or whether Hassett will be sidelined for a number of games. Xavier athletic trainers were due to further evaluate Hassett on Saturday (Jan. 27).

Hassett was injured when she attempted to block a shot along the baseline near the basket but appeared to lose her balance as she tried to adjust to the opponent’s change in direction. Hassett fell hard to the floor and into padding along the wall beyond the baseline.

The situation compounded one that already existed involving 6-1 senior Montana Oltrogge, who missed her third game in a row while allowing pain from a case of shin splints to subside.

“I’m down two post players,’’ said Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom, pausing at the suggestion that the former WNBA and Olympic player might have to suit up herself.

At least for now, everything on offense will run through junior point guard Leilani McIntosh, junior guard Paris Moore and junior wing Addison Putnam, even more than before. Defensively, Xavier will rely more on the play of sophomore Elysia Fleetwood and junior Truly Helton.

The score sheet for the Gators (20-4) showed a bit of that against Chandler (11-10), with Moore scoring 13 and McIntosh 11. Putnam, the team’s top 3-point shooter, had just one against the Wolves but hopes to find her touch again when Xavier plays its final home game of the regular season on Tuesday night (Jan. 30) against Chandler Hamilton.

Chandler battled the Gators the entire game, and might have been closer had not talented sophomore guard Victoria Mason been sitting on the bench with foul trouble.

Xavier increased its lead to 14 early in the fourth quarter as Moore sandwiched two baskets around one by Hassett.

Hassett followed her own miss to get the lead back up to 14, but free throws by Victoria Perez, Mason and a drive through the lane by Veronica Perez kept it close. Time was running out, however.

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