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 12, 2019

Winning ways return for Gator hoops

After an emotional two-point loss in its 6A Premier Region opener at Gilbert Perry on Tuesday night (Jan. 8), it was imperative that Xavier Prep’s basketball team needed to come back and defeat visiting Chandler Basha on Friday night (Jan. 11). The Gators couldn’t really afford another region setback.

They did what they set out to do with a dominating 65-36 victory at the Activity Center.

After ending its three-game losing streak, Xavier stands at 17-3 overall and 1-1 in region play. Basha fell to 7-12 and 0-2.

Xavier used its trademark pressure defense mixed with a zone to keep Basha from getting close.

Senior guards Leilani McIntosh and Addie Putnam and junior guard-forward Elysia Fleetwood put most of the Xavier points on the board early on. The Gators led 26-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Because of the big lead, Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom had the opportunity to give her reserves some good playing time. Xavier had nine players in the scoring column.

Guards Victoria Saucedo and Bianca Nava looked good, as did post player Tanya Barakat.

Xavier was outscored 11-2 in the fourth quarter, when a running clock was used with a lead of more than 30 points.

Basha got a strong effort from forward Amiyah Josey, who scored 23 points.

Putnam led Xavier with 15 points, followed by Fleetwood with 13 and McIntosh with 12.

Xavier has two region games on the road next week, at Chandler High on Tuesday (Jan. 15) and Chandler Hamilton on Friday (Jan. 18).

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