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, December 15, 2021

Cherwinski leads charge for Gator basketball

 When you are looking for an example of an all-around effort by a basketball player, Tuesday night’s (Dec. 14) performance by Xavier Prep junior guard Sienna Cherwinski is one by which almost all others can be measured.

Cherwinski helped the Gators remain unbeaten at 6-0 with an 88-32 victory over visiting Scottsdale Chaparral. She scored a team-leading 24 points, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range and 6-of-7 from the traditional 2-point range.

Don’t stop there – take a look beyond at additional numbers.

She also had 7 assists, 5 steals and 4 rebounds.

“Sienna is capable of doing something like that every single night,’’ said Xavier Coach Jennifer Gillom.  “She can post up, she can do it all. She is a real team player. I keep telling her, encouraging her, “This is what we need from you.’ ''

Xavier jumped to a 31-7 at the end of the first quarter and Cherwinski had a big hand in that.

She scored 17 points during that time, including three 3-pointers. She connected on another trey in the second quarter as the Xavier lead was 48-23 at halftime.

The outcome was all but sealed in the third quarter when Xavier used a 19-0 run to set up the usage of the running clock with its big lead.

In the third quarter, sophomore guard Dom Nesland hit two of her three 3-pointers on the night and went on to finish with 20 points.

Senior Toni Garcia showed strength under the basket with 9 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Junior forward Gabby Trbovic scored seven points and freshman post CeCe Mlat had four points and forced Chaparral to alter some of its shots inside with her height (6-feet-6) and long reach.

Next up for Xavier is the Nike Tournament of Champions in the southeast Valley. The Gators are expected to play at least four games, with the first coming on Saturday (Dec. 18) at 1:30 p.m. against West Linn, Ore., at Tempe McClintock High. The remainder of the tournament will be held Monday (Dec. 20), Tuesday (Dec. 21) and Wednesday (Dec. 22).

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