CAYAC training encourages local hoopsters

Focus was on fundamentals, with defensive drills and footwork emphasized

Cordova Lady Wolverines, grades 7-12, along with Camp Coach Dan Evan’s twin sons, receive instructions at the CAYAC camp at CHS on August 7-10. Dick Shellhorn photo

The Cordova Amateur Youth Athletics Association sponsored a four-day basketball camp at CHS Court on Aug. 7-10.  

Morning sessions featured several youngsters grades 2-6, afternoon sessions included seven Lady Wolverine prospects, grades 7-12; and evening workouts featured 17 boy hopefuls, also grades 7-12.    

The focus was on fundamentals.  Defensive drills and footwork, plus transitions offensive, were also emphasized. 

“We want to teach players to get down the court fast,” said boys Coach Bert Adams, who has stepped up from being JV Coach last year to take the helm of the Wolverines. 

He certainly had the right teacher on hand. Dave Evans from 3000 student 6A Lone Peak High School in Highland, Utah guided his summer AAU Lone Peak Reign squad to a 40-1 record. 

Evans is a former assistant coach at BYU Hawaii. Frank Jackson, one of his recent players at Lone Peak, started at Duke University as a freshman and was drafted by the NBA this spring. 

Wolverine prospects of all ages receive pointers on how to run a 5 man full-court fast break drill from visiting Coach Dan Evans at last week’s CAYAC Camp at CHS. Dick Shellhorn photo

This is Evans’ second summer camp in Cordova.  

“I love coming up here,” he said. “Not only the kids and the community, but also the fishing and outdoors.”  

Evans and Paul Peterson, a Utah athletic trainer who works with players at the high school, college and professional level, caught both halibut and silver salmon on a fishing trip prior to the start of the camp. 

Adams and Evans know each other well, as the Utah coach put on camps in Yakutat, where Bert was a highly successful boys coach for several years. Unfortunately, the Eagles program there has fallen on hard times, with a high school enrollment down so low that neither a girls or boys squad will be fielded this year. 

Cordova’s high school enrollment continues to hover around 100, and the Wolverines have been successful since moving from 3A (151-500) to 2A (61-150) two years ago.  The CHS boys have advanced to State both years, the Lady W’s once.  

Both Girls Coach Brad Sjostedt and Adams know that making it to the 2A championship final means a year-round commitment.   

“The 2A schools that make it there, such as Glennallen, Petersburg, Unalaska, and Unalakleet, all make summer camps part of their programs,” said Adams. “Basketball in many places is now a year round sport.” 

Both Cordova coaches are aiming high; Sjostedt with rebuilding from the junior high up, Adams with a nice group of returnees. 

“Who knows, maybe at some point in the future we can get Lone Peak to come up for the Cordova Tipoff,” Adams said. 

“I’d love to bring a team up here sometime,” Evans said, who added casually, “Maybe you could invite somebody like East Anchorage too.”   

The only out-of-state teams to play in the Tipoff were the 2002 Melba, Idaho Mustang girls and boys. The boys squad was coached by former CHS Coach Bob Lenz.  

Ah, the Days of Lenzo’s Wolverine Express and Virginia Anderson’s Lady W’s. 

Are they on the horizon again?

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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 and third place in 2017.