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, May 27, 2021

No surfing in summer, but plenty of hoops for Gators

 Summer almost is upon us and for followers of Xavier Prep athletics, it means . . . basketball?

You are reading that correctly.

Some of Xavier’s best basketball in recent years has begun with early work in summer leagues, most notably at Thunderbird High in north Phoenix.

After the league temporarily shut down in 2020 due to the pandemic, things are back to where they need to be in 2021. The league will begin play on June 1 and run until the end of the month.

Teams at the varsity and junior-varsity levels will participate. Each team will play seven “regular season’’ games in either T-Bird’s main or practice gyms, and that will be followed by a brief “one and done’’ playoff. Games will begin at around 2 p.m. each day and run all the way through 9 p.m.

Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom had nine underclassmen as part of the group of Gators that reached the 6A Conference semifinals, where the team fell to eventual state champion Surprise Valley Vista.

Most of those players are expected to return, barring injury and prior commitments, in the summer.

Those players are (class standing for 2021-22 in parentheses) . . .

Sienna Cherwinski (junior), Mia Davis (junior), Kalyn Doss (sophomore), Toni Garcia (senior), Sarah Miller (sophomore), Dominique Nesland (sophomore), Gabi Trbovic (junior), Maureen Ulrich (sophomore) and Hannah Young (junior).

The fact that four of these players were relatively unknown freshmen last season makes it a logical assumption that there could be a few fresh faces this summer that might help the varsity in a similar manner.

Thunderbird High 2021 Summer Basketball League

At Thunderbird High, 19th Ave. and Thunderbird Road

Participating teams

Phoenix Alhambra, Phoenix Arcadia, Anthem Boulder Creek, Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain, Glendale Cactus, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows, Peoria Centennial, Phoenix Central, Laveen Cesar Chavez, Phoenix Cortez, Glendale Deer Valley, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Fountain Hills, Glendale Prep, Phoenix Barry Goldwater, Phoenix Greenway, Phoenix Horizon, Phoenix North, Phoenix North Canyon, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor, Phoenix Paradise Valley, Prescott High, Scottsdale Saguaro, Phoenix St. Mary’s, Phoenix Sunnyslope, Peoria Sunrise Mountain, Phoenix Thunderbird Orange, Phoenix Thunderbird Blue, Surprise Valley Vista, Phoenix Xavier Prep.

Xavier schedules


Tuesday, June 1 (Main gym) – Anthem Boulder Creek vs. XCP, 9 p.m.

Thursday, June 3 (Main) – XCP vs. Phoenix Horizon, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, June 8 (Main) – Laveen Cesar Chavez vs. XCP, 8 p.m.

Thursday, June 10 (Main) – Surprise Valley Vista vs. XCP, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, June 15 (Main) – Peoria Sunrise Mountain vs. XCP, 5 p.m.

Monday, June 21 (Main) – XCP vs. Phoenix Alhambra, 8 p.m.

Thursday, June 24 (Main) – Phoenix Thunderbird Blue vs. XCP, 9 p.m.

Junior varsity

Wednesday, June 2 (Practice gym) – XCP vs. Phoenix North, 9 p.m.

Wednesday, June 9 (Practice) – Phoenix Arcadia vs. XCP, 5 p.m.

                                                         XCP vs. Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor, 8 p.m.

Friday, June 18 (Main Gym) – Goodyear Millennium B vs. XCP, 5 p.m.

                                                      XCP vs. Laveen Cesar Chavez, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 23 (Practice) – Phoenix St. Mary’s vs. XCP, 8 p.m.

Friday, June 25 (Main) – XCP vs. Glendale Deer Valley, 9 p.m.

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