CHS boys top Lathrop JV’s at Valdez tournament

Andrew Werner, later named to All-Tournament team, scored 22 points

Led by 6-3 senior Andrew Werner, the Cordova Wolverines topped the Lathrop High JV’s 64-54 in their final game of the three day Valdez Elks tournament on Feb. 9-11.  Werner, who was later named to the All-Tournament team, poured in 22 points against the younger Malamutes from the big 4A Fairbanks school.

The Cordova-Lathrop matchup was close for three quarters. The score was tied 21-21 at the end of the first period; Cordova led by one at halftime, 38-37; and CHS was ahead 50-48 after three quarters. Werner poured in ten points in the final 8 minutes. Fellow senior Zack Hamburger also came up big in the last stanza, with 8 of his 16 points, most on assists from Werner. Scotty Cruikshank led Lathrop with 22.

Cordova had a rough outing against Valdez in the first round game on Feb. 9.  Former Buc standout Todd Wegner, who was also 3A Coach of the Year while guiding Valdez to a state Championship, is back at the helm of the Buccaneers. It took about 30 seconds to recognize the aggressive, up-tempo attack he and former Buc Coach Dan Eide perfected, and a packed gym of Valdez fans witnessed in raucous fashion.

Cordova stayed close through a half, trailing 31-22 at intermission. But Valdez came out of the locker room on fire, starting the third quarter with a 16-0 run and outscoring Cordova 34-4 before the period ended. The Bucs won by a 79-45 final.

Werner led Cordova with 17 points; Tyler Mann had 21 points for Valdez in three quarters.

In their second game on Feb. 10, Cordova played well against former 3A Aurora Conference foe Hutchison. CHS was down 35-31 at halftime, and took a 48-46 lead at the end of the third quarter. But the Wolverines couldn’t stop the strong overall play of 6-3 Hawk Xavier Ughutuvbe, who finished with 25 points.  Hutch guard Garrison Poland also hurt CHS  with three big three pointers in the final period, as the Hawks prevailed, 67-60.

Werner again led CHS, this time with 24 points.  He finished with 63 points total in the tournament.

Joe Redington High, a new 3A MatSu Valley school in Knik, will be here Feb. 17-18 for a pair on non-Conference games.

The Wolverines are now 9-10 overall, and 6-2 in Conference play.

Individual scoring: 

Game 1:  Cordova: Muma 10, Hamberger 2, Gillespie 9, Werner 17, Rodriguez 4.  Valdez: Heckathorn 3, Mann 21, Hinkle, A. 4, Sodergren 4, Hinkle, B. 10,

Freeman 6, Disney 6, Watson 3, Berg 4, Auble 7, Martel 2. Game 2: Cordova: Muma 13, Hamberger 8, Graves 2, Gillespie 13, Werner 22.  Hutchison:  Olson 5, White 11, Young 7, Ughutevbe 25, Poland 18. Game 3:  Cordova: Bailey 4, Muma 13, Estes 4, Hamberger 16, Graves 2, Gillespie 4, Werner 22.  Lathrop JV: Phillips 4, Cruikshank 22, Rones 4, Hall 2, Anders 4, Sierer 12, Bass 4.

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Dick Shellhorn, author, reporter, ref and grandpa, can be reached at shorn@gci.net. Shellhorn was born and raised in Cordova, Alaska, and has lived there his entire life. He has been writing sports stories for the Cordova Times for over 40 years. In his Cordova Chronicles features, he writes about the history and characters of this Alaska town. Alaska Press Club awarded Shellhorn first place for Best Humor column in 2016.