Lady Wolverines notch win, lose three close games at Ninilchik Invitational

Cordova’s Lady Wolverines seem to be headed in the right direction. With conference playoffs a few weeks away, they notched a win and lost three close games at the Ninilchik Invitational Tournament on Feb. 15-18.

In the opening round game against Bristol Bay, Cordova was literally seconds away from victory.  Battling back from a 12-2 first quarter deficit they trailed 22-23 with six minutes to go, and took the lead 33-32 on a three-pointer by Shaunessi Schandel with 1:30 left in the game.

But a foul by Cordova with two seconds left put Bristol Bay at the free-throw line, and they made both shots to win 34-33.

Katie Pallas led Cordova with 10 points.

“I was really proud of the girls,” said Coach Stacie Chappell. “We left Cordova on the ferry at 3:45 a.m., arrived at Whittier at 11:45 a.m. The bus was an hour late due to snow drifts, so got to Ninilchik with 30 minutes until game time. The girls were a bit lethargic at first, but kept improving as the game went on.”

Next up was Nenana on Feb. 16. Cordova lost another close contest by a 45-39 final.


“We played with patience and as a unit on offense,” said Chappell. “Shaunessi Schandel lead our scoring with 21 points.”

On Feb. 17, Cordova exploded for 50 points to defeat Ninilchik by a 50-30 final. Alayna Goss, Katie Pallas and Shaunessi Schandel each had 11 points for Cordova.

“Day three and Lady Wolverines pull away with a win,” said Chappell. “Our girls pulled together even stronger than yesterday and it resulted in a well-deserved win.”

In their fourth game on Feb. 18, Cordova lost to Tri-Valley 26-39.

“The girls worked hard and battled,” said Chappell. “One of our best games of the year even though we lost.”

Cordova’s Shaunessi Schandel was named to the All-Tournament team. 

Cordova faces Tok here on Feb. 24-25 to wrap up the regular season before regionals at Glennallen on March 9-11.

The Cordova girls have gone through growing pains this year with a 3-16 record. This series could be a chance to gain more momentum going into regionals.

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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