Xavier Prep earns first playoff victory in boys' hoops

Xavier Prep earns first playoff victory in boys' hoops

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Xavier Prep earns first playoff victory in boys' hoops

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PALM DESERT

Please pardon the members of the Xavier Prep boys’ basketball team while they’re busy doing homework during their winter holiday break.

This week, the Palm Desert school is on vacation, but that didn’t stop the basketball team from drawing up a history lesson of their own.

On Wednesday night for the first time, Xavier captured a CIF-Southern Section playoff game, topping the visitors from Wildwood out of Los Angeles, 68-53.

The Saints continue to rewrite the history books and will play Friday at Woodcrest Christian (18-7) in Riverside. The Saints have now won seven of their last eight games, including a first-ever victory against Palm Springs. They earned a first ever home playoff game, competing in Div. V-AA, then proceeded to make a record of their own with the win.

“We’ve been in playoff mode for quite a few games,” said senior Gabriel Dreisbach, who led the Saints with 21 points. “We didn’t have that great of a record and we had to catch up.

“The coach always says to go out and play today and worry about tomorrow when that comes, so we’ve been relaxed and just go play. It’s been fun.”

What made it even more fun is that the Saints (12-12 overall) did it without their normal raucous X-factor, their home crowd. Many of the students are away on vacation and the gym was fairly quiet. The Saints just took care of business from the start, rolling to a 19-11 lead after the first quarter and pushing it to 33-21 by the half.

The Saints got points from eight different players and utilized plenty off the bench without missing a beat. Their passing was strong and the combination of Gabriel Dresibach and his younger brother, junior Joseph Dreisbach (16 points) was a lethal combination for the Wolves (13-9).

Xavier also got a solid effort from junior Burke Meyers, who contributed 12 points, all from the outside.

“I had the opportunity to shoot the ball tonight,” said Meyers, who had two 3-pointers in the second half. “All year we’ve had Gabe and Joe shooting the ball, then another guy steps up, so that makes us more of an offensive threat. We wanted to come in and just play our normal game. We were able to do that and even though it’s ski week, for as many fans that we had here, it was great.”

Xavier was clicking on offense and got a solid game from Jake Ashton, Matt Stearns, Ethan Sontz and Jacob Myrum early on defense. Xavier fought the rebounds, turned the transition and fed the hot hand all game.

A 3-pointer from Gabriel Dreisbach at the halftime buzzer gave Xavier a 12-point lead, but just a minute into the third quarter, he buried another and that race was on. That made it 38-21 in a hurry then Meyers hit two more in that quarter. That’s when the Saints surged to the 55-35 advantage.

“They’re relaxed, they’re confident and it shows,” said Saints’ coach Mark Granger. “The key tonight was getting to play a home game, then getting that first playoff win. That makes a difference. We’ve just got a bunch of kids that come in and make the most if it.”

And the homework was all in the preparation for the biggest post-season test.

“We had a really good week of practice and we knew that we had a good chance to win on this home court,” said Gabriel Dreisbach. “It feels great to win the first ever playoff game in history. We played our game and gave it all we had.”

For Wildwood, senior Everett Dayton led with a game-high 22 points, 15 in the second half. Oliver Scherick was the only other player in doubles figures with 14.

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