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, June 11, 2021

No matter how or vs. who, a hoops victory is good

 While it did not have the same impact as a state tournament game, a 46-28 victory by Xavier Prep over defending 6A girls basketball champion Surprise Valley Vista in the Thunderbird Summer League on Thursday night (June 10) was good under any circumstances.

“Oh, I don’t know about any of that (avenging a previous loss). I just love the fact that we came out, played hard and had fun,’’ said Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom.

The Gators seemed to be focused from the opening tip.

Sophomore-to-be guard Sarah Miller in particular was dialed in, scoring 14 of her team’s 31 points in the first half as Xavier built a 20-point advantage at the break.

She drilled a three-pointer early in the second half as did junior guard Sienna Cherwinski as the Gators increased their lead to 26 points. Valley Vista attempted to regain some composure later on, but couldn’t get fully back on track. The Monsoon are playing without two of their top players, Mikela Cooper and Jennah Isai.

“Sarah is becoming a great leader,’’ Gillom said. “You’re going to see that from her more and more every year.

“She is a fantastic player. I love her energy at both ends of the floor.’’

Maureen (Mo) Ulrich, another sophomore guard, is developing into a player who fits in well with Miller, especially with the absence of sophomore point Dominique (Dom) Nesland, who has not been available of late.

Incoming freshman post player CeCe Mlat had another solid effort, and Gillom took notice.

“CeCe is really coming along,’’ Gillom said. “She seems to be much stronger than I thought she would be. I like what I am seeing.’’

Xavier is now 4-0 in the T-Bird league, and will have just one game next week, on Tuesday (June 15) against Peoria Sunrise Mountain at 5 p.m.

 

 

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