Weekend scrimmages signal end of basketball season

As referee Donald Ladd and Wolverine James Corales (14), look on, Gwethalyn Jacob (30), and Floyd Witsoe (12) battle for a jump ball to start the Cordova girls versus the Cordova JV boys scrimmage. (April 2, 2021) Photo courtesy of Wendy Ranney

Cordova’s junior high and high school basketball seasons ended with several scrimmages in the last few weeks. Due to COVID protocols, the teams did not travel or have any games with visiting teams this year.

The junior high boys had a seven-week season starting on January 18th and ending with a set of six intra-squad games on Friday, March 26. The games were four on four and lasted either 15 minutes or to 21 points.

The squads were coached by Jake Borst, and the CHS Pep Band was there to spur them on as they competed against each other.

The next scrimmage was held on Friday, April 2. A team of junior high and high school girls played the JV boys in the first half of the game, and then combined teams of coed players matched up for the second half. The girls had a nine-week season, which started on January 18th, and ended with the games.

The girls’ team was coached by Stacie Chappell and Heather Richardson, while Jake Borst coached the JV boys. The Pep Band and varsity boys basketball team were there to provide referees and cheer for the teams.

Andrea Vargas was this year’s only senior Lady Wolverine; she and her parents received a bouquet of flowers during a special presentation.

The boys high school basketball scrimmage was held on Saturday, April 3. Also coached by Jake Borst, the high school boys had a 10-week season that started on Jan. 18 and ended with a regular four-quarter game in which the boys were split into two separate squads. Once again, the Pep Band was there for the contest.

Chrisabelle Pena was the only senior on this year’s boys squad. His family was there to cheer him on, and share in his special recognition.

Throughout the season all players and coaches were required to wear masks, and masks were required for everyone at the scrimmages as a part of the event mitigation protocol.

All the scrimmages were streamed live.

“With no games or trips in the schedule this year, the guys really showed their love for the game with the dedication to practice every day,” said boys Coach Jake Borst. “The willingness to develop their skills and compete made it easy and enjoyable to coach such a great group of young men.”

“The season was less than normal for sure,” said girls Coach Stacie Chappell. “I was very proud of the girls sticking with the season and showing their love for their game and their commitment to each other.”

“There wasn’t tournaments or travel to look forward to, so as coach I tried to make the season as fun as possible yet still build skills and team camaraderie,” added Chappell. “The Wolverines shined, and we are hoping for and ready for some normalcy in next year’s season.”

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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 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.