Cordova tops Effie Kokrine in final home games

Victories improve Wolverines’ conference record to 8-1

Wolverine Zach Hamberger goes for a lay-up in Cordova’s exciting Homecoming win over Effie Kokrine. Photo by Mikie McHone/For The Cordova Times

After crushing Redington in non-conference games here a week earlier, Cordova fans were hoping for exciting basketball action in the Homecoming series here on Feb. 24-25.

Playing for the first time ever at CHS Court, Conference opponent Effie Kokrine from Fairbanks provided exactly that, challenging the Wolverines in a pair of high scoring up-tempo games that ended with Cordova victorious.

On Friday, the Wolverines had to put up the most points they have scored all season to seal the deal. The final was a misleading 79-62, as the Warriors were within six points midway through the final period.

The quick and aggressive Warriors led 14-12 at the quarter. Cordova countered with 24 points in second period, sparked by four lay-ups from freshman Christian Adams, to lead 36-29 at the half.

Both teams applied relentless full court pressure throughout the entire contest, and lost key players on fouls. Lightning fast Warrior D’Andre Thomas  missed much of the second quarter carrying three fouls, yet finished with 25 points before fouling out. The talented left-handed junior was undoubtedly the quickest player CHS had seen all season.

Cordova’s Andrew Muma also fouled out, but not before contributing 15 points, including three long-range treys. Andrew Werner, a 6-4 senior, finished with a game high 26 points for Cordova, including 11 in the fourth quarter alone.

Saturday, it appeared Cordova was going to control Thomas and win handily. CHS lead 21-7 at the quarter and 40-28 at halftime, while holding the Warrior’s top scorer to only two field goals and 5 free throws for 9 points. Despite six buckets on slashing drives to the hoop by Thomas in the third quarter, the Wolverines held a 62-47 lead to start the final stanza.

Somehow Effie Kokrine held Werner, who already had 20 points in the game, to only one field goal in the remaining eight minutes. Meanwhile Thomas and Company outscored CHS 22-10, to pull within three, 72-69, with 4 seconds left. The crowd held its collective breath as the ball was inbounded to Thomas, who dribbled across the mid-coast line to within long three point range, but then inexplicably passed the ball to a teammate under the hoop as time ran out.

Thomas finished with 32 points, but Cordova finished with a 72-69 three point win. Cordova had four players in doubles digits, led by Werner, with 23.

The wins improved Cordova’s Conference record to 8-2, with their only losses to Glennallen, who will host the Conference playoffs on March 9-11. Meanwhile, Effie Kokrine faces Glennallen at Glennallen next week, while Cordova has the weekend off.

The Wolverines finished the regular season with 13 wins and 10 losses. Seeding brackets for the Conference playoffs will be determined following the completion of all conference play is completed on March 3-4.

Individual scoring: 

Game !:  Cordova:  Muma 15, Hamberger 8, Sjostedt 2, Adams 15, Graves 9, Gillespie 5, Werner 26.  Effie Kokrine:  Nolan 8, Snow 8, Thomas 25, Zartman 7, Jones 3, Salpino 2, Sparks 3, Maxwell 5.  Game 2:  Cordova:  Muma 10, Hamberger 9, Sjostedt 16, Adams 10, Graves 2, Werner 23, Melo 2.  Effie Kokrine:  Kokrine 2, Snow 9, Thomas 32, Woods 4, Zartman 7, Jones 5, Salpino 4

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Dick Shellhorn, author, reporter, ref and grandpa, can be reached at 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.