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.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Hamilton humbles Gators in hoops finale

The basketball regular season ended for Xavier Prep on Tuesday night (Feb. 11) with a 60-34 loss at Chandler Hamilton.

Now the Gators are looking ahead to a 6A Conference “play-in’’ game on Thursday night (Feb. 13), with the winner advancing to the first round of the state tournament next week.

Xavier (17-10) will host the play-in game at 7 p.m. against Mesa Red Mountain. Play-in games were announced Wednesday (Feb. 12).

Tuesday’s score was nearly identical to the one in the teams’ first meeting at Xavier on Jan. 24, when defending state champion Hamilton recorded a 60-29 triumph.

In the first quarter of Tuesday night’s game, Xavier appeared to come out with a more aggressive mindset.  The Gators led 9-6 on a 3-point basket by junior Kailey Appel with about 3 ½ minutes to play, but then . . .

Hamilton (20-6) scored 10 unanswered points to close out the quarter to gain control.

The Huskies began to utilize their pressure defense, which made it difficult to move the ball without turning it over.

Hamilton had a similar run late in the second quarter, led by guard Victoria Davis, one of three seniors honored on the school’s Senior Night. Davis, who recently became the sixth player in school history to surpass the 1,000-point mark in her career, led a balanced effort on the night with a team-leading 11 points.

Hamilton held Xavier to a combined 15 points in the second half to win going away.

Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom said “I thought we would come out and have a great game. But it showed that we need to handle pressure better. We are still lacking some of that leadership.

“We can try to learn from this and play better in the playoffs and next year, keep it moving.’’

Senior Elysia Fleetwood led the Gators with 12 points, and junior Tori Saucedo had 9.

Hamilton 60, Xavier Prep 34

Xavier scoring –Elysia Fleetwood 12, Tori Saucedo 9, Kailey Appel 3, Sophie Sash 3, Mia Davis 2, Sienna Cherwinski 2, Sophia Alameddin 2, Hannah Young 1.

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