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 17, 2021

Coach says Gators "just love playing the game''

 Xavier Prep’s basketball team stepped onto the floor at Scottsdale Chaparral on Tuesday (Feb. 16) and began to do what it needed to do.

The Gators controlled things from the opening tip to the final buzzer, pinning a lop-sided 81-19 defeat on the Firebirds.

Xavier has won 7 of its first 10 games, while Chaparral sits at 2-9.

Asked what, if anything, she could take away from a game like this, Xavier Coach Jennifer Gillom said, “just sit and watch. This team never ceases to amaze me.

“They (players) are jelling more and more now with each game. They just love playing the game.’’

Gillom was particularly pleased by Mia Davis’ return to action. The sophomore guard-forward had been out for a week or more due to a leg injury, and entered the game at the start of the second quarter. She had practiced only once, on Monday (Feb. 15) since the injury.

She went on to lead the team with 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four steals. One of her baskets was a 3-pointer, one of 12 for the Gators on the night. Sophomore guard Sienna Cherwinski tossed in four long-range shots and senior guard Tori Saucedo had three.

Sophomore Hannah Young had seven rebounds and freshman guard Sarah Miller had six. Cherwinski and freshman guard Dominique Nesland also had four steals. Freshman guard Kalyn Doss received additional playing time and scored six points.

“We are sharing the ball on offense and executing the way we are supposed to, and are playing great defense,’’ Gillom said.

Due to the score differential, the referees mandated that the running clock be used for the entire second half, rather than just for the fourth quarter only.

Xavier has four games remaining in the condensed regular season. They are at Anthem Boulder Creek on Feb. 23, at home against Chandler Basha on Feb. 26, at Chandler High on March 2 and at home against Gilbert Perry on March 5.

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