Cordova boys finish second in conference playoffs

Cordova's Christian Adams (24) and Billy Bailey (10), jump for the rebound in their game against the Susitna Valley Rams during the Interior Conference Basketball Tournament in Cordova on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)

The Cordova boys finished second in tense 2A Interior Conference playoffs at home on March 7-9.

After cruising past SuValley 63-40 in the first round on Thursday, March 7, Cordova lost to Glennallen by three points, 42-39, in the battle for first place on March 8; and then squeaked past Nenana by four points, 59-55, in the crucial battle for second place on March 9.

The second-place finish earned Cordova a berth in the State 2A tournament in Anchorage on March 14-16.

Cordova and SuValley were knotted at 10 after one quarter in their first game of the playoff, but CHS outscored the Rams 24-6 in the next eight minutes en route to an easy win. Kaiden Graves led CHS with 23 points, including 5 threes.

The Cordova-Glennallen matchup was tight from start to finish. Cordova led 14-11 at the quarter and trailed 25-23 at halftime. Cordova scored 6 points in the third quarter, Glennallen 5, giving the Panthers a 30-29 lead with one stanza left.

Each team managed five field goals in the fourth quarter; Glennallen converted on two of five free throws, while Cordova went zero for three from the charity stripe, giving Glennallen a 42-39 victory.

Graves again led Cordova, this time with 15; talented Panther playmaker Aiden Fields led Glennallen with 16.

Nenana squeaked by Effie Kokrine 58-54 in an early 10:30 a.m. game Saturday morning, before suiting up to play Cordova three hours later, starting at 3 p.m. Despite playing only one reserve for just part of the first quarter, the Lynx gave CHS a challenge, and ironically, lost by a 59-55 final, which was almost identical to the score from just hours before.

Three-point shots are a big part of Cordova’s offense, and they weren’t falling in the first period. CHS missed all six attempts from beyond the arc, and Nenana led 13-8. Cordova hit three treys in the second stanza and outscored the Lynx 16-12 to trail 25-24 at halftime.

The third quarter proved to be decisive, as CHS outdid Nenana 19-13, to take the lead, 43-38. Wolverine Christian Adams, who finished with 19 points, had eight points in that stanza, while Evan Gatton, who finished with 15 points, added a pair of treys.

Nenana, led by the Standifer brothers Josiah and Devin, who combined for 34 points total, actually outscored CHS 17-16 in the last period, but the Wolverines held on to win.

Cordova’s Kaiden Graves, Christian Adams, and Evan Gatton were named to the All-Conference Team.

Individual scoring:

Game 1: Cordova: Graves 23, Gatton 5, Bailey 7, Adams 9, Carrillo 2, Bradford 10, Estes 7. SuValley: Hauton 2, Jolley 11, Drover 12, Pinard 6, Goodman 2, Kehoe 5, Snyder 2. Game 2: Cordova: Graves 15, Gatton 3, Bailey 2, Adams 10, Bradford 7, Estes 2. Glennallen: Jones 4, Weimer 4, Fields, A. 16, Fields, J. 2, Spears 4, Alexander 12. Game 3: Cordova: Pena 5, Graves 13, Gatton 15, Frohnapfel 3, Adams 19, Carrillo 3, Estes 1. Nenana: Standifer, J. 15, Standifer, D. 21, Akaran 10, Stone 3, Amktoohk 6.