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, January 21, 2021

XCP basketball has "a lot of work to do'

 When about half of your basketball team is made up of freshmen and sophomores and you’re going against the undisputed No. 1 team in Arizona in your season opener, you take a deep breath and hope for the best.

That ominous scenario, combined with ice-cold shooting by Xavier Prep’s Gators, led to a 62-45 loss to visiting Surprise Valley Vista on Wednesday night (Jan. 20) in the Activity Center. Valley Vista is aiming for his fourth 6A Conference state championship in the last five years.

“We have a lot of work to do,’’ said XCP coach Jennifer Gillom.

“We didn’t do a lot of the things we had been doing in practice. It was a “first game game.’ Still, I am OK with how we played. I know our team will get better.’’

Valley Vista was led by senior Marisa Davis and juniors Jennah Isai and Mikela Cooper. They combined to put most of the Monsoon’s points on the board, Isai scored 17, Davis 16 and Cooper 15.

“Valley Vista has size, speed, everything,’’ Gillom said. “We will not meet a team that is any better.’’

Xavier had just one player score in double figures – senior guard Tori Saucedo, who had 13. Sophomore guard Sienna Cherwinski and freshman guard Sarah Miller scored eight each and sophomore guard-forward Mia Davis scored seven.

The Gators also had difficulty playing defense at times, but it could have been a lot worse.

Xavier will be on the hot seat again on Friday (Jan. 22) when it hits the road for a game against Chandler Hamilton, No. 3 in’s Super 10 teams, regardless of classification. Xavier is fifth, at least for now.


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