Lady Wolverines save best for last

CHS girls battled back through consolation bracket

Cordova’s Lady Wolverines saved their best for last, going 2 – 2 in the 2A Interior Conference playoffs at Glennallen on March9-11.

Cordova opened the double elimination tournament with a 42 – 22 win over Effie Kokrine in the 9 am Thursday game. Three CHS girls scored in double digits, lead by Leigha Peebles with 13.

Back on the court at 3 p.m. the same day, the Lady Wolverines gave No. 2 seed Nenana a real challenge. Cordova lead 15 -14 at half time, but struggled in the third quarters, scoring only one point on a free throw by Riley Butler. CHS trailed 22-16 with eight minutes to go, but battled back to play even with the Lynx in the final stanza, losing 30-23. Peebles again topped Cordova’s scoring, this time with 8 points.

The significance of their solid outing wasn’t really noticed until the next day, when Nenana clobbered Su-Valley 72-54 to win the conference title.

Meanwhile, the CHS girls battled back through the consolation bracket.  They topped Tok 45 – 33 on Friday. Cordova’s speedy perimeter duo of Edrea Navarro and Jieller Tabara scored 11 and 10 points respectively to lead the CHS attack.

The win advanced CHS to a Saturday 9 am matchup with No. 1 seed Glennallen, who had been upset by No. 3 Su-Valley in the opening round of play on Thursday.

Cordova Coach Brad Sjostedt would later describe their play against the Panthers as “their best game of the season.”  The CHS girls led 10-7 at the quarter and 19-16 at halftime.  With a large Glennallen crowd cheering them on, the Panthers came out with much tougher defensive pressure after the intermission, pulling away to win 41-31.

Second half fouls by a tired Cordova squad were a big factor. Glennallen hit 13 of 16 free throws in the last two quarters.  Riley Butler had her best game of the tournament, scoring 14 points.

Leigha Peebles and Riley Butler were selected to the Coaches All-Conference team.   Peebles was the only senior on this year’s team, which finished the season 7-7 in Conference play and 12-15 overall.

Sjostedt, in his first year as Varsity Girls coach, was optimistic about next year.  “That was a good way to finish the season, and shows how much we have improved.  We have some promising eighth graders coming up, plus a solid core of veterans to build around.”

Individual scoring:  

Game 1: Cordova:  Bourgeois 3, Tabara 10, Navarro 11, Butler 4, Peebles 13, Vargas 1.  Effie Kokrine: Fischer 2, Nicolai 2, Jenkins 2, Vent 2, Silas 8, Allen 6.  Game 2:  Cordova:  Bourgeois 1, Navarro 5, Butler 7, Peebles 8, Vargas 2.  Nenana :  Agwiak 4, Brown 10, Nickoli 2, Salas 6, Tremblay 2, DeLaRosa 4, Stone 2.  Game 3:  Bourgeois 5, Tabara 10, Navarro 11, Butler 9, Peebles 7, Vargas 3. Tok:  Alsup 6, Nelson 3, Young 9, Northway 15.  Game 4:  Cordova:  Bourgeois 1, Tabara 2, Butler 14, Peebles 8, Vargas 5.  Glennallen:  Cyr 5, Sawyer 6,

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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.