Wolverine Rally comes up short at conference playoffs

A furious late rally by the Cordova Wolverines in the title game of the Interior Conference Playoffs at SuValley came up short, as Glennallen topped CHS 58-48 to finish first.

It was a bittersweet season-ending loss, as prior to the game on Friday, March 13, ASAA announced cancellation of the state tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation and world. 

As a result, consolation games to be played on Saturday, March 14, for the runner-up berth at state were cancelled, and Cordova’s hopes to battle back for second place and a trip to state were over.

The CHS boys got off to a slow start against Glennallen, with little success against a Panther 2-3 zone defense. Cordova trailed 16-6 at the end of the first quarter and was down 33-14 at halftime.

A three-pointer by speedy Panther playmaker Jamison Fields started the second half, before the Wolverines gradually clawed their way back. Cordova outscored Glennallen 13-2 in the rest of the quarter to trail 38-27 with eight minutes left.

A CHS full court press seemed to rattle Glennallen, and with 1:57 left in the game, Cordova sharpshooter Kaiden Graves drained a three pointer to pull the Wolverines within four, 47-43.


It would be as close as Cordova would get. With time running out, the Wolverines had to resort to fouling to stop the clock, and hope Glennallen would miss free throws to give CHS rebound possessions.

The strategy didn’t work, as in the next 84 seconds, Glennallen shot a perfect 10 for 10 from the free throw line, before missing one with 6.7 seconds left, to win by a 10- point margin.

CHS mainstays Kaiden Graves and Christian Adams led Cordova with 18 points apiece. Jamison Fields topped Glennallen with 21.

Cordova advanced to the championship game with a lopsided 71-58 win over Effie Kokrine on Thursday, March 12. Graves was the top scorer in that game with 27 points, with freshman Arthur Adams adding 21.

Cordova finished the season with a 20-5 record.

In postgame ceremonies, Cordova was honored with the team Sportsmanship Award. Wolverine Christian Adams was named Conference Player of the Year, with teammates Kaiden Graves and Rustyn Bradford selected for All-Conference honors.

Cordova’s Keegan Estes, Trevor Dundas, Wyatt Sorenson, and Rustyn Bradford received All-Conference Academic Awards for maintaining a 4.0 or higher G.P.A.

Individual scoring

Game 1:  Cordova: Pena 3, Graves 27, Dundas 5, Carrillo 2, Adams, A. 21, Bradford 7, Estes 6. Effie Kokrine: stats not available. Game 2: Cordova: Graves 18, Dundas 2, Adams, C. 18, Adams, A. 6, Bradford 1, Estes 3. Glennallen: stats not available.

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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 dshorn44@gmail.com.