CHS boys split tense series with SuValley

Wolverine Xavier Russin drives the baseline in exciting Homecoming action here on Feb. 24, 2022. Photo courtesy of Mikie McHone

For decades, Valdez and Cordova were big 3A basketball rivals.

With CHS now classified in 2A, it appears the Wolverines have found a replacement for the Buccaneers in the 2A SuValley Rams.

Before big crowds at CHS Court, the two squads split an intense, physical series, with Cordova prevailing 48-35 on Feb. 23 and SuValley pulling off a big fourth quarter rally to win 59-46 in the Feb. 24 rematch.

Rugged defense keyed the Wolverine effort in the first game. Cordova held the Rams to 14 points in the first half, and 7 points in the third period.

Cordova’s Jaykob Thorne goes up for a jumper against a SuValley defender in a tense game here on Feb. 24, 2022. Photo courtesy of Mikie McHone

Depth was also a factor, with seven Wolverines scoring, led by Trevor Dundas with 18 points.

The Thursday game on Homecoming Night was a see-saw affair from the start.

Cordova led 12-11 at the quarter and 25-21 at halftime. SuValley cut their deficit to 35-32 at the end of three periods, and knotted the score 44-44 with four minutes to go.

From then on it was all Rams.

“We let the game get away frorm us after they hit a few tough shots,” Cordova coach Jake Borst said. “The sense of urgency from being down late in the game became rushed and we were careless with the ball, making six turnovers in the last two and a half minutes.”

Cordova scored only two points for the rest of the game, and what was a four-point deficit quickly became a 13-point loss.

Jaykob Thorne led CHS with 14 points. Bryson Jolley was a one-man wrecking crew for SuValley with 32 points, including 8 out of 10 from the free-throw line.

Borst was philosophical about the loss.

“We’ll use this final regular season loss as extra motivation as we prepare for the conference tournament,” he said. “Learning from out setbacks and limiting those mistakes is paramount as we head into the final stretch of the season.”

The Wolverines finished the regular season going 6-4 versus conference foes, and 7-10 overall.

Individual scoring:

Game 1:  Cordova:  Itliong, Junior 4, Thorne 7, Dundas 18, Witsoe 4, Corales 6, Russin 3, Sorenson 6. SuValley:  Shelby 14, Benischek 1, Jolley 17, Cassidy 3.  Game 2:  Cordova: Itliong, John 2, Itliong, Junior 4, Thorne 14, Dundas 7, Witsoe 4, Corales 2, Russin 6, Sorenson 4.  SuValley:  Shelby 9, Slatter 6, Jolley 32, Cassidy 5, Fox 7.

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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.