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.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Leilani Mac is back as Gators roll

Welcome home, Xavier Prep basketball team!

Especially you, Leilani McIntosh!

The Gators rode a big rollercoaster of emotions after McIntosh, the senior point guard, suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury in the Scorpion Shootout tournament over the weekend in Goodyear.

Her right knee appeared to be the problem, but coach Jennifer Gillom surmised that the injury would not be too serious, instead of having it be something that would idle her for an extended period.

As coaches tend to be most of the time, Gillom was right. McIntosh was given the green light and returned to action on Thursday night (Nov. 29) when the team staged its 2018-19 home opener against Mesa Desert Ridge at the Activity Center.

McIntosh, hovering around the scorer’s table during the JV game before the varsity played, said she felt good and was ready to go.

And she played like it.

She led the Gators to their fifth win of the season without a loss, 64-15, scoring a team-high 18 points and contributing her normal list of other plays on offense and defense.

“I wasn’t too worried and the doctor said she was fine,’’ Gillom said. “Lei was back out there doing all of the things that Lei does. She’s fine. She practiced well.’’

McIntosh had plenty of help. Three other players scored in double figures – senior guards Addie Putnam and Paris Rasheed-Moore with 14 each and junior guard-forward Elysia Fleetwood with 12, including 10 in the first quarter that helped the Gators get away to a fast start.

Gillom was particularly pleased with the play of Rasheed-Moore and Fleetwood.

“Paris stepped up,’’ Gillom said. “She made better decisions and she’s starting to look for her jump shots, which we want her to do.

“ “E’ is coming into her own. She can do a lot of things out there and that only makes us better.’’

The Gators will be back at home on Friday night (Nov. 30) against Tempe Corona del Sol, then return to the road on Tuesday (Dec. 4) at Avondale Westview.

Xavier Prep 64, Mesa Desert Ridge 15

XCP – Leilani McIntosh 18, Addie Putnam 14, Paris Rasheed-Moore 14, Elysia Fleetwood 12, Tanya Barakat 4, Toni Garcia 2.

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