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, June 22, 2019

Host Xavier hoops drops two in "Team Camp''

There’s really no other way to put it.

Xavier Prep’s basketball team needs a lot of work before the 2019-20 season begins.

The Gators opened the new Section 7 “Team Camp’’ on Saturday (June 22) with a lopsided loss to Surprise Valley Vista (66-37) and faded in the second half against Tucson Sabino (46-38) to fall into the loser’s bracket in the eight-team event at XCP’s Activity Center.

Xavier had a respectable 5-3 record in the Thunderbird (High) Summer League that wrapped up its regular season just a few days before.

But it was no secret that the competition in the Section 7 would be much better. The teams were selected by the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association.

Valley Vista, Xavier’s nemesis in recent years in 6A Conference state tournament play, jumped to a quick 5-0 lead over the Gators and never was seriously challenged after that.

The Monsoon made sure they had the upper hand most of the time by employing a stifling full-court press. Xavier knew how opponents felt the last few seasons when it used a similar defense. It often had trouble getting the ball past midcourt.

Freshman Mia Davis scored 14 points to lead the Gators, including a pair of 3-pointers.

The game against Sabino appeared it might be a different story as Xavier had a seven-point lead late in the first half. Xavier led by two at the break.

Xavier still led by two about midway through the second half (the teams played 16-minute halves), but Sabino went on a 10-0 run to lead by eight with 6:40 left.

Kamryn Doty, a junior-to-be at Sabino, had an outstanding effort from her guard spot. Xavier could not stop her as she drove and dished, often getting fouled in the process. She finished with 15 points, including 10 free throws.

Davis again led the Gators with 15 points, including three 3-pointers.

Now, less than 24 hours after its loss to Valley Vista, Xavier must play the Monsoon again in the loser’s bracket on Sunday (June 23) at 10:30 a.m. Valley Vista dropped into that spot with a narrow two-point loss to Chandler Seton Catholic. Depending on the outcome against Valley Vista, Xavier would play another game, at either 2:15 or 3:30 p.m.

Seton will meet Sabino in a winner’s bracket game at 8 a.m. Gilbert Perry will face Phoenix Pinnacle in the other winner’s bracket game at 9:15 a.m.

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