Basketball Conference Playoffs Underway in Glennallen

All over Alaska, basketball teams are gathering for conference playoffs. After months of practice, travel, and challenges, it comes down to crunch time. 

Winners and runners-up of these pressure-packed gauntlets of dawn to dusk games get a chance to play under the bright lights of the Alaska Airlines Center for a state title in what is aptly called “March Madness Alaska Style.”

Under the 1A through 4A classification system adopted by the Alaska School Activities Association in 1984, the Cordova girls have won one state title – the 3A Championship in 1987. The CHS boys have made it to the finals only once.

But the dreams begin at conference playoffs – in this case the 2A Interior Conference – at Glennallen which is already underway, running March 8-11.

With so much at stake, most of the playoffs are double elimination, meaning a team can lose an early round game and still battle back to finish second and earn a state berth.

Brackets are created to allow for this possibility, with placement of teams on the brackets based on won-lost records throughout the regular season against conference foes.


This year on the girl’s side SuValley was seeded No. 1, Glennallen No. 2, Nenana No. 3, Cordova No. 4, Ninilchik No. 5, Tok No. 6, and Effie Kokrine No. 7. That means Cordova faced Ninilchik at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8. The winner of that game faced SuValley at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 9.  The loser heads to the labyrinth of the losers’ side bracket. 

On the boy’s side Ninilchik was seeded No. 1, Cordova No. 2, Tok No. 3, SuValley No. 4, Nenana No. 5, Glennallen No. 6 and Effie Kokrine No. 7. The Cordova boys opened against Effie at noon on Thursday, March 9, and the winner of that game played the winner of a 9:00 a.m. Tok-Glennallen game earlier on Thursday. If Cordova defeats Effie at noon, they will then play either Tok or Glennallen at 6:30 p.m. the same day. 

Ninilchik, the defending State 2A Champion, and the only conference team that beat Cordova during regular season play, is on the opposite side of the bracket and needs to only win one game on Thursday to advance to the first-place matchup. 

A truism about playoffs is this: it’s a new season and everyone starts 0-0.  By Saturday afternoon that will no longer be true, and the teams that have made it through the playoffs will be on their way to the state tournament which begins March 16.