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, December 29, 2018

Gator hoops back in form with decisive victory

Xavier Prep’s basketball players would admit that they did not play very well in a victory over Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge in Thursday’s (Dec. 27) opening round of the Lady Titan Winter Hoops Classic at Phoenix Arcadia.

The six-point win felt almost like a loss. But thankfully for the Gators, Friday (Dec. 28) was another day.

And the Gators were feeling like their old selves.

They jumped to a 15-point lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back, taking a 53-36 victory over Phoenix Desert Vista.

That put Xavier’s record at 16-0, and sent the team into a 2 p.m. game on Saturday (Dec. 29) against Phoenix Shadow Mountain. Xavier was the top team in the Gold A bracket, and Shadow Mountain was the No. 2 team in the Gold B.

Win or loss, Xavier was to have another game on Saturday night at 8:15, when the Gold A-B brackets had their championship and third-place games.

After a subpar game against Ironwood Ridge, senior guard Addie Putnam came back with a flourish. She led XCP with 27 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Many of her points came as she slashed through the defense for layups.

Senior guard Paris Rasheed-Moore also played a big role with 12 points (a pair of 3-pointers), as well as her defense and rebounding.

And with senior point guard Leilani McIntosh sitting out, sophomore Mackenzie Coder stepped up and played well, particularly in the early going as the Gators were establishing themselves.

Coder handled the ball well and helped set up the offense. She also contributed two 3-pointers.

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