Summer basketball camps an Alaskan staple 

Wolverines Billy Bailey and Cody Estes (front right) work on ball handling skills at Team Camp in Utah. Photo courtesy of Bert Adams

Both the Cordova girls and boys teams have been on the road for basketball camps this summer.  Such camps have become an Alaskan staple. 

“Summer camp and summer open gym are important for a program to compete at a high level in the state of Alaska,” said new boys varsity coach Bert Adams. “All the top programs attend them, including 2A schools Petersburg, Unalaska, Unalakleet, Su Valley and Glennallen.”  

Since moving to 2A two years ago, the Cordova boys have advanced to state twice, the Cordova girls once. Neither made it to the championship round.  

“We need to keep pace with them and our goal is to become their equal or pass them,” Adams said. 

“Camps develop team chemistry not only on but off the court,” Adams said. “The emphasis is not on winning, it is on competing and developing good communication among players and coaches. If successful in teaching this, the winning will take care of itself.” 

The Cordova girls attended the Alaska Basketball Academy in Palmer, hosted by Colony High. Lady Wolverines Mikita DeCook, Inga Arvidson, Anika Witsoe, Nailea Martinez, Riley Butler, Jieller Tabara and Edrea Navarro made the trip. 


Two Cordova boys squads attended the Utah Valley University Team Camp in Utah. It had seven division levels, with one being the large varsity schools. Cordova Squad 1, which was coached by Adams and featured returning varsity players Cody Sjostedt, Billy Bailey, Christian Adams, Keegan Estes, Kaiden Graves, Gage Frohnapefel and Dauri Rodrigues, competed at level three.  

“We did very well, even though we went 3-8,” Adams said. “We were in a position to win all the games against very good competition.” 

Lady Wolverines Makita DeCook, Inga Arvidson, Anika Witsoe, Nailea Martinez, Riley Butler, JiellerTabara and Edrea Navarro at Girls Team Camp at Colony High School near Palmer.
Photo courtesy of Bert Adams

Squad two, featuring Eddiemar Gasmen, Kaleb Carrillo, Chrisbelle Pena, Evan Gatton, Marlouis Agustin, Rustyn Bradford and Quinn Muma was coached by Jake Borst, and suffered a number of injuries, finishing 1-9 overall.   

The Cordova boys also participated in the Lone Peak Skills Camp, run by Lone Peak coach David Evans. Lone Peak has won several state titles and one national championship.  

Evans and his assistant Paul Peterson will be in Cordova for a basketball camp on August 7-10 at the CHS gym. 

Shoreside Petroleum, Copper Valley Wireless, Alaska Commercial Company, Trident Seafoods, Wilson Construction, Native Village of Eyak, Steve Ujioka and Bob Henrichs all helped sponsor travel to the camps. 

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Dick Shellhorn
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 [email protected].