The Gators were feeling all warm and fuzzy after the pregame ceremonies, but by the time the non-region game against Mesa Mountain View had ended, they walked off the floor stunned as Mountain View rallied from a 23-point deficit in the third quarter and nearly pulled off a big upset with an 11-0 run to finish the game. It seemed like the Toros might have been able to pull it off, but they ran out of time and fell 59-54.
Perhaps the Gators (20-3, 3-1 in 6A Premier Region) were looking a bit ahead to Friday night’s rematch at home against Gilbert Perry (16-6, 4-1). On Jan. 8, Perry rallied to nip XCP at the wire, 60-58.
The Toros (11-10 overall) outhustled the Gators in the fourth quarter, and the Gators seemed somewhat confused at times about what they were supposed to do.
Coach Jennifer Gillom gave junior post player Tanya Barakat the start as Barakat continued to show improvement as she has the last few weeks. Barakat, who played well in a recent key victory at Chandler Hamilton, finished with four points.
And the Gators got a lift from guard Kailey Appel, a sophomore transfer from Mesa Red Mountain who had been sidelined with a wrist/arm injury. Appel showed good court sense and scored her team’s final points with about two minutes left in the game with a basket, her first as a Gator.
Ten players scored for Xavier. Senior guard Addie Putnam put up 18, including a pair of 3-pointers. Senior guards Paris Rasheed-Moore and Leilani McIntosh each scored 10.