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, November 24, 2018

Hitting century mark launches Gators' season

Xavier Prep’s Gators are off to a very good start in the 2018-19 basketball season.

Playing this weekend in the Scorpion Shootout at Goodyear Desert Edge, XCP reached the century mark in its first Game on Friday (Nov. 23) against Phoenix Trevor Browne, 100-17, and followed that up with a 72-29 win over Flagstaff Coconino in a Friday evening encounter.

That puts the Gators in the 4:30 p.m. semifinals on Saturday (Nov. 24) against Tucson High. A victory there would give Xavier a championship game spot at 7:30.

Facing Tucson should be more of a challenge for XCP. Tucson is 3-0 and has combined for a 100-17 record in its previous four seasons. Tucson reached the 6A quarterfinals before falling to Goodyear Millennium, which in turn fell to Xavier in the semifinals.

Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom was understandably pleased with her team’s effort in the first day.

“Not a bad day . . . not a bad day at all,’’ she said.

The team’s defense was off the charts – 35 steals in the first game, 39 in the second. Senior guard Leilani McIntosh had 12 steals in the first game, and senior guard Paris Rasheed-Moore had 16 in the second game.

Gillom also was encouraged by the Gators’ play off the bench.

“I didn’t think we would be able to go that deep at this point of the season, with that many contributing,’’ she said. “In the past, our score diminished a little when the bench players went in, but now we appear to be maintaining our advantage or even giving ourselves a boost.’’

Xavier had 11 players score in the first game and 10 in the second.

McIntosh was the top scorer in both games – 31 in the opener and 20 in the second game.

Senior guard Addie Putnam also was a prominent scorer – 25 in the opener and 13 in the second game. She combined to hit six 3-pointers in both games.

Senior Cara Coffman started in the post in both games and held her ground. Sophomore point guard MacKenzie Coder combined for 11 points in both games, including three 3-pointers.

Friday’s scores

Xavier Prep 100, Phoenix Trevor Browne 17

XCP – Leilani McIntosh 31, Addie Putnam 25, Elysia Fleetwood 9, Sophie Sash 7, Paris Rasheed-Moore 6, Cara Coffman 6, MacKenzie Coder 5, Tanya Barakat 4, Victoria Saucedo 3, Truly Helton 2, Bianca Nava 2.

Xavier Prep 72, Flagstaff Coconino 29

XCP – McIntosh 20, Putnam 13, Rasheed-Moore 12, Coder 6, Saucedo 6, Helton 4, Fleetwood 4, Sash 3, Coffman 2, Toni Garcia 2.

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