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.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Gators 5-3 in summer hoops, higher level awaits

Xavier Prep basketball players are getting plenty of experience in the Thunderbird (High) Summer League.

They have faced decent competition in the league, but this weekend will move on to a higher level of play with a summer Section 7 “Team Camp’’ on Saturday (June 22) and Sunday (June 23) at Xavier.

The showcase event is overseen by the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association (AZBCA), and is sanctioned by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA). There are eight girls’ teams from Arizona, chosen by the coaches’ association, and the boys’ list is expansive, including some out of state teams. The AIA is providing game assignments for officials.

There have been showcases in other areas of the country, usually in late June. This is the first year of such an event in Arizona. Xavier is the only site for the girls, at least for this year, while the boys will play in 10 gyms across the Valley. Boys sites are Xavier (on Friday), Brophy Prep, Phoenix Washington, Phoenix Central, Phoenix Moon Valley, Phoenix Sunnyslope, Glendale Apollo, Phoenix College (juco), Laveen Betty Fairfax and Phoenix Camelback.

The showcase is designed to allow college coaches to watch some of the area’s top players. For this year, only boys’ college coaches will view the competition and the AZBCA continues to advocate for the same parameters for the girls, according to AZBCA Executive Director Matt King, the former boys’ coach at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.

“David Hines (AIA Executive Director) and I said we didn’t want to do this without a girls’ presence,’’ King said. “Hopefully, this will lead to more involvement for them down the road.’’

The eight girls’ teams are Xavier, Tucson Sabino, defending 6A Conference champion Chandler Hamilton, Gilbert Perry, 2018 champion Surprise Valley Vista, Phoenix Pinnacle, Phoenix Horizon and Chandler Seton Catholic.

Xavier lost three key senior guards to graduation, but now has three freshmen to help fill in the gaps. One of the new players worth watching is Mia Davis, a forward who is a good shooter and has good ball-handling skills.

Davis scored 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help the Xavier “A’’ team defeat Glendale Cactus 72-22 in summer league play on Tuesday (June 18). The team had 12 players score in the contest.

The A team, one of two Xavier squads in the Thunderbird league, wrapped up its eighth and final game on Thursday (June 20) with a 46-31 win over Glendale Ironwood to finish 5-3. Xavier A will not play in the league’s postseason tournament, but its other team, Xavier “B,” will.  The “B’’ team finished its summer regular season at 2-5 with a 38-32 win over Phoenix Cortez on Wednesday (June 19).

X-Treme Apparel Women’s Bracket

Games at Xavier, unless noted.


Tucson Sabino vs. Phoenix Pinnacle, 9:15 a.m. Chandler Hamilton vs. Phoenix Horizon, 10:30 a.m. Gilbert Perry vs. Chandler Seton Catholic, 11:45 a.m. Surprise Valley Vista vs. Xavier Prep, 1 p.m. Hamilton vs. Pinnacle, 2:15 p.m. Valley Vista vs. Seton, 3:30 p.m. Perry vs. Horizon, 4:45 p.m. Sabino vs. Xavier Prep, 6 p.m.


Sabino-Xavier winner vs. Valley Vista-Seton winner, 8 a.m. Perry-Horizon winner vs. Hamilton-Pinnacle winner, 9:15 a.m. Sabino-Xavier loser vs. Valley Vista-Seton loser, 10:30 a.m. Third-place game, 1 p.m. Winner’s bracket championship, 2:15 p.m. (at Brophy). Seventh-place game (at Xavier), 2:15 p.m. Fifth-place game (at Xavier), 3:30 p.m.

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