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.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Gators finally have something to smile about

It had been awhile since you could hear laughter coming from Xavier Prep’s post-game basketball huddle.

But the Gators could finally relax a bit on Sunday (June 23) after having completed their salvage mission.

After two rough games against Surprise Valley Vista in the Section 7 “Team Camp’’ and a third loss to Tucson Sabino, Xavier earned a seventh-place finish in the eight-team event with a 50-33 victory over Phoenix Horizon at the Activity Center.

The win was considered a bit higher on the noteworthy scale, given the fact that four XCP players sat out the contest with some nagging injuries as a precautionary measure, including promising freshman Mia Davis.

That meant that some of their teammates had to step it up, and they did so in impressive fashion.

Junior guard Victoria Saucedo led the way with 20 points. Senior post player Tanya Barakat scored six points, grabbed several key rebounds and played solid defense. And junior Channing Kehoe helped the Gators maintain their advantage in the second half with a pair of 3-pointers.

“It was great that those players stepped up,’’ said assistant coach Patrick Mangosing, filling in himself for head coach Jennifer Gillom.

“The ones that had injuries – they will be able to rest for at least a few weeks, maybe play some club ball and be ready for us when we start preseason practices,’’ Mangosing said.

Xavier had begun the Team Camp with a 29-point loss to Valley Vista in its opening game on Saturday (June 22), lost by eight to Tucson Sabino on Saturday to drop into the loser’s bracket, and had a 32-point setback to Valley Vista again on Sunday morning before turning things around in the afternoon against Horizon. Xavier had defeated Horizon 54-37 on June 6 in the recently completed Thunderbird (High) Summer League.

“We have a lot of youth and have made a lot of mistakes,’’ Mangosing said. “But we’re going to get better and do everything we can to get back in that arena (for the 6A Conference state tournament at Arizona State).

“Today (Horizon), we did not worry about who we were playing. We just went out and worked hard and were focused on ourselves.’’

Sunday’s Section 7 Women’s Team Camp Results

Championship – Gilbert Perry 67, Tucson Sabino 51

Third Place – Chandler Seton Catholic 53, Phoenix Pinnacle 47

Fifth Place – Surprise Valley Vista 60, Chandler Hamilton 32

Seventh Place – Xavier Prep 50, Phoenix Horizon 33

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