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 20, 2018

Leg discomfort halts Oltrogge but Gators still roll

How painful are shin splints?

Montana Oltrogge knows.

Xavier Prep’s star senior forward has dealt with them for most of the basketball season. She has been brought to tears on occasion after games. But it was becoming more evident that she was going to need more rest than just a day or two here and there could provide.

So the decision was made to shut down the Gators’ leading scorer.

Oltrogge said she wasn’t sure for how long, perhaps a week. Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom said “it will be a game by game basis. We want to get this taken care of now rather than wait until later, when we are in the playoffs.’’

Oltrogge wasn’t in uniform on Friday night (Jan. 19), when Xavier faced Anthem Boulder Creek at the Activity Center.

Her teammates picked up the slack and dashed to a 59-18 win over the Jaguars. A running clock was used in the fourth quarter, signifying a 30-point lead at the start of the final eight minutes.

Xavier (18-4) next plays on Tuesday (Jan. 23) with a 6A Conference Premier Region game against Chandler Basha.

“We knew it was going to be a big adjustment,’’ Gillom said. “We are going to need a lot more different players scoring on a consistent basis.’’

The Gators have put more focus on senior inside player Katie Hassett, even before the most recent revelation. Junior point guard Leilani McIntosh and junior guard Paris Moore will see their roles increase on offense, as will junior 3-point specialist Addison Putnam.

From a defensive standpoint, sophomore Elysia Fleetwood will add more quickness and athleticism to the mix.

Ten players scored for the Gators against Boulder Creek (8-11). Three players were in double figures – Moore with 14, McIntosh with 13, Putnam with 10 and Hassett was close with 8.

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