‘Raising Wolverines Clinic’ is a big success

Future Wolverines in grades 3-8 work on defensive stance drills in the “Raising Wolverines” basketball clinic at CHS on April 9, 2018. Photo by Bert Adams/for The Cordova Times

A key to the success of any basketball program begins with attracting and developing players at an early age. If the enthusiasm and number of youngsters participating in a recent “Raising Wolverines Clinic” is any indication, Cordova High School basketball is in for a resurgence.

Under the direction of Cordova High coaches and players, 65 girls and boys, grades 3 – 8, took part in after-school sessions at CHS Court on April 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18. Many of the sessions were attended by parents and fans, filling bleachers that were pulled out on one side of the gym.

“We expected 30 to 35 kids,” boys varsity coach Bert Adams said. “And 65 to 70 have been showing up. It’s great to see such interest. It will help our programs immensely.”

Adams mentioned that due to illness and injuries, he was often short-handed at high school practices this past season. The girls varsity program did not have a JV squad year, due to lack of players.

Wearing old Cordova uniforms, 3-5 graders scrimmage during the “Raising Wolverines Clinic at CHS on April 17, 2018.
Photo by Bert Adams/for The Cordova Times

“We need to build the program from the bottom up,” Adams said. “It was great to see the interaction between the high school players and their young future counterparts.”

The clinics worked on developing skills in ball-handling, passing, shooting, and footwork; and also included full court 5-on-5 scrimmages. But the main emphasis was on having fun.

For example, there were shooting competitions, where a youngster and coach paired up in free-throw shooting contests, with Gatorade to the eventual winner. Popsicles went to the winners of trivia questions at the start of each session, or to players noted for doing something positive in games.

The games were also an eye-opener for the high school players, who donned black and white stripes to referee.

Adams, who guided the Wolverines to the State 2A tournament in his first year as varsity coach, ran similar clinics during his years at the helm of the highly successful Yakutat Eagles. He plans to expand the program.

“Next year, we hope to have attachments to create lower hoops,  so we can include kids in grades K-3,” he said.

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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 and third place in 2017.