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.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Big lead evaporates, Millennium edges XCP hoops

 Whatever Xavier Prep’s basketball Gators did in the first half of their Thunderbird Summer League game against Goodyear Millennium on Wednesday night (June 8), they could not repeat in the second half.

By the time the contest was over, the 15-point Xavier lead at halftime had disappeared and Millennium put its victory stamp on the Gators 47-45, outscoring Xavier 30-13 after intermission.

Xavier slipped to 1-2 in T-Bird summer play, with three “regular season’’ games remaining – against Phoenix Sunnyslope on June 13, Peoria Sunrise Mountain on June 20 and Phoenix Pinnacle on June 21. Counting its four games in the recent Lady Extravaganza tournament, Xavier is 4-3.

Xavier hit nine 3-pointers for the game, but most were in the first half. Only one was in the second half.

Xavier coach Jennifer Gillom likes to say that offense starts with defense, which was a key for the Gators in the first half. It was if they knew what the Tigers’ every move would be and utilized great footwork and quick hands.

Not in the second half, however.

Figuring it had nothing to lose, Millennium turned up the intensity in the second half and played strong defense of its own.

Xavier appeared timid at times, unsure what to do with the ball. On defense, the Gators looked like a different team, slow to react in many instances.

Guards led the way for Xavier on offense.

Incoming junior transfer Jasmine Oliver scored 14 points, including a pair of threes. Senior Sienna Cherwinski scored 12, all on threes.

So now it is back to the drawing board, and we will see how the Gators respond to the adversity.


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