Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Friday, January 29, 2021

First shooting, then defense -- Xavier has got it going

 There are different ways that a struggling basketball team can find the path to success.

After losing to Surprise Valley Vista and Chandler Hamilton in their first two games, Xavier Prep’s Gators won their first game against host Chandler Basha with accurate shooting on Tuesday night (Jan. 26).

On Thursday night (Jan. 28), the focus turned to defense as the Gators swarmed all over visiting Chandler High for a 90-27 victory to even their record at 2-2.

Freshman guard Kalyn Doss follows through with a high lofting pass to a Xavier teammate under the basket (Photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

The effort was reminiscent of past Xavier teams under the guidance of head coach Jennifer Gillom. Xavier scored the first 21 points of the game and its pressure defense limited Chandler to just two points in the opening quarter.

Some of the intensity was visible in the Xavier offense. Sophomore guard-forward Mia Davis scored 17 of her game-high 29 points in the first quarter, including a pair of three-pointers.

Freshman guard Sarah Miller also played a major role throughout the night, scoring 26 points.

The Xavier spirit line performs during halftime.

The outcome was not in doubt from the start, and in a 34-8 third quarter, Gillom began to play some of her reserves. She hopes to be able to follow that same format as the season moves along,  getting the reserves more time so they won’t be like a deer in headlights come playoff time.

The fourth quarter was played with a running clock (30-point lead or larger), which helped Xavier limit Chander to three points and brought the contest to an end.

Xavier goes back out on the road on Tuesday night (Feb. 2) with a game at Gilbert Perry.

Zaara Arora (44) drives past an opponent for the XCP frosh-sophomore team, which recorded its first win in three games, 25-12.

JV player Annie Kopp launches a shot over a Chandler High defender. The JV was quite competitive in its first game of the season, but fell 42-31.



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