Local hoops camp attracts wide group of hopefuls

Basketball season isn’t here yet, but a local hoops camp sponsored by the Cordova Area Youth Athletic Corporation attracted 25 players ranging from second grade through high school for three days of workouts at Cordova High School Court on August 8-11.

CAYAC has sponsored summer camps for several years. This year’s camp coaches were David Evans, Head Coach at Lone Peak High School in Alpine, Utah; and Paul Peterson, the School Strength and Conditioning Coach. Lone Peak has an enrollment of 3500 students, competes at the 5A Level, and went 47-3 in summer competition this year. Evans played Division II basketball at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, where he led the nation in scoring his senior year, and served as BYUH Assistant Coach for several years in charge of recruitment and player development.

The camp emphasized nutrition, strength and fundamentals as foundations to build a basketball player, and using the sport as a tool to teach discipline, time management, and hard work in everything one does.

Evan’s program focuses on an up-tempo offense and pressure-disciplined defense, with a lot of focus on footwork around the basket, as well as full court shooting and lay-up drills to compliment the fast break offense. All fit in well with the Cordova High School programs, which advanced both the girls and boys squads to the state tournament in their first year in the ASAA 2A Classification.

Several returning CHS Varsity players attended Evan’s camp in Lone Peak earlier this summer.  The camp here attracted mainly younger players in grades 6 to 10 who were unable to attend that camp. The local workouts included strength and weight training, individual skill development, and working that into a team concept.

Donations from the Native Village of Eyak and Copper Valley Telephone, plus housing provided by Joe Arvidson, one of the founders of CAYAC, also helped make the camp possible.

Summer and fall leagues for mainly 3A and 4A players in Anchorage and Fairbanks are a common way for those athletes to practice and improve their skills. Former CHS Coach Jason Boerger, now at 3A Grace Christian, described coaching up there as “a year round job”, even though under ASAA rules he cannot sit on the sidelines, but has to watch from a few rows up.

Camps and open gym at recreation centers or high schools are the common route for traditionally successful smaller schools such as Pt. Hope, Unalaska and Petersburg to advance and win at State, and will be a key ingredient in Cordova’s drive to garner future 2A titles.

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Dick Shellhorn is a lifelong Cordovan. He has been writing sports stories for the Cordova Times for over 50 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 2020, and third place in 2017 and 2019. He also received second place for Best Editorial Commentary in 2019. Shellhorn has written two books about Alaska adventures: Time and Tide and Balls and Stripes. Reach him at shorn@gci.net.