Cordova boys basketball team off to hot startDec 12, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Shaun Holkko, sports editor
Cordova junior guard Waijai Sutter attempts a layup during a 77-57 loss to Placer in the first game of the Rosemont Wolverine Winter Classic on Thursday, December 8 at Rosemont High School. Photo by Rick Sloan
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – The Cordova High School boys varsity basketball team is off to a hot start to begin the 2022-23 campaign, winning six of its first eight games.
The Lancers (6-2) traveled down Folsom Boulevard and competed in a tournament over the weekend at Rosemont High School. Before the most recent tournament, Cordova had its first five games of the season.
The season tipped off on November 19 at home as the Lancers played in two games, one in the afternoon and the other at night. The first game of the year came against River City of West Sacramento. Following an even first quarter that was knotted at 12, Cordova outscored the Raiders 46-19 over the next three quarters and ultimately won 58-31.
The Lancers’ next game that evening came against regional rival, the Rosemont Wolverines, who Cordova defeated 66-58. Ten days later on November 29, the Lancers faced their first real test of the season against Wood of Vacaville. Cordova moved to a perfect 3-0 following a narrow one-point victory against the Wildcats, 77-76.
The annual Cartwright Classic Tournament took place over three days from December 1-3 in Elk Grove. The tournament is played in honor of Elk Grove High School alumnus Bill Cartwright who graduated from the school in 1975. Cartwright went on to have a 15-year NBA career that included three championships with the Chicago Bulls playing alongside Michael Jordan.
The Lancers played the hosts, the Thundering Herd, in their first game of the tournament. Cordova and Elk Grove battled back and forth in a double overtime thriller that would make Cartwright proud. The Thundering Herd went on to win 73-63 to hand the Lancers their first loss of the season.
Cordova bounced back on Saturday with a lopsided 71-46 win over McClatchy. The Rosemont Wolverine Winter Classic also took place over three days, from December 8-10.
The Lancers faced their toughest test in the first game of the tournament at Rosemont, matching up against undefeated Placer. The Hillmen took care of business and soundly defeated Cordova 77-57 on Thursday night.
Roles reversed in the next game on Friday night as the Lancers smashed Pierce, 86-31. The Bears traveled a great distance from Arbuckle to compete but were simply overmatched against Cordova, losing by 55 points.
The Lancers faced off against a familiar foe in their final game of the tournament: Elk Grove. Junior wing RayShawn Johnson scored the game-clinching basket with about 30 seconds remaining to give his team a three-point lead at 63-60. Cordova was able to exact its revenge for the double overtime loss a week prior, defeating the Thundering Herd 63-62.
“The team has really grown a lot since the season started and they’re getting better each practice,” said Cordova coach Fletcher Johnson, who is in his 12th season leading the Lancers’ program. “They’ve begun to work together and play much better as a team.”
Among the eight teams, the Lancers took third place overall for their effort over three games. Senior guards, Louis Griffin and Jayvyn De Vera, were each selected to the all-tournament team. De Vera earned the nod for his role as Cordova’s floor general while Griffin held down the two-guard spot as a lethal shooter. Placer defeated Del Campo in the championship game to win the tournament.
The Lancers will now have a few weeks off before hosting the annual Cordova Christmas Classic. The time off will be beneficial for one player in particular, senior guard Cody Jones, who recently sprained his ankle in practice. The tournament begins on December 28.