Scammon Bay, a village of 550, sits near the Bering Sea 144 miles north of Bethel. The Cordova girls and boys basketball teams traveled there for a 16-team tournament on Jan. 4-7. Photo courtesy Scammon Bay schools

The Cordova basketball teams traveled all the way to Scammon Bay to play in the 16-team Kickoff Klassic on Jan. 4-7.

The Lady Wolverines provided the most exciting game of the tournament, falling to St. Mary’s 45-44 in action on Friday, Jan. 6.

“The game was a nail biter,” said Cordova High School coach Stacie Chappell. “Our defense was on point. Anika Jensen and Jade Sharky played their best games of the season.”

She added that there are some areas to improve for the rest of the season.

“Our shooting game needs some work,” Chappell said, “but it was a huge improvement over the earlier games.”

Katie Pallas led Cordova with 12 points, and Sharky added 11.

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Travel to Scammon Bay, population 550, and located 144 miles from Bethel on the Bering Sea, was by small plane, and weather prevented some of the teams from arriving for the first round of play.

“We didn’t get our whole group together until the second day, and our luggage didn’t make it with us but the community was kind and generous with supplying tooth brushes and blankets,” Chappell said.

Also not arriving was Cordova’s first round opponent Pilot Station.

So CHS played a pick-up game against Kwethluk, losing 54-35. Katie Pallas and Asha Estes lead CHS with eight points each.

The next day Hooper Bay swept past CHS 63-26. Katie Pallas and Sharky topped Cordova with six points apiece.

The one-point loss to St. Mary’s eliminated Cordova — as it was their second loss in the double-elimination format.

The Lady Wolverines, now 0-5 overall, will be looking for their first win of the season in the 40th annual Cordova Tipoff, which will be played in town on Jan. 12-14. 

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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.