1965 Harrington Basketball
The Harrington High basketball team was on a mission for the 1964-65 season. It had just missed winning the state B championship the prior year, losing in the final seconds to Cathlamet in the championship game.
Most of the team returned, including Dennis Bly, Dick Hoffman, Robert Watson and Tom Manke. They had a new coach, Rich Juarez, fresh from his playing days at Gonzaga, and taking on his first head coaching position.
Juarez introduced a swarming defense to the team, which caused opponents fits. The Panthers picked up the nickname “the piranhas” for their aggressive press.
Harrington rolled through the regular season without a loss, and with only a handful of games being contested. In one game The Panthers rolled up 126 points.
They took the Bi-District Tournament No. 1 seed with a win over Davenport, the first time Harrington had won that title since 1951.
The Pirates moved on to the NE District playoffs, where again they came out on top, qualifying once again for the state tournament. It was the first NE championship for the school since 1949.
Harrington arrived in Spokane with a 20-0 record. The first game was against Entiat. The starters only played about half a game as the Panthers easily won, 57-29.
After dispatching Lyle, 90-52, inflicting 35 turnovers, and Palouse, 64-46, the Panthers found themselves in the title game, facing their foe of the previous year, Cathlamet . Revenge was sweet, as Bly scored 30 points in a 79-61 win. The Panther defense caused 26 turnovers. Harrington finished the season 24-0 and state champions, fulfilling a quest. Bly was voted to the all-tournament team.
Juarez retired undefeated as a high school coach. The following season he returned to Gonzaga as an assistant coach. Dennis Bly joined him to continue his basketball career as a Bulldog.
Gonzaga Bullpup Basketball 1940
Billy Frazier had just completed his first year as head coach for the Gonzaga High School football team. In December of 1939 he took on his second new job, coaching Bullpup basketball, replacing long time mentor, John “Puggy” Hunton.
Since their 1932 City League championship team, the Bullpups hadn’t had much success in basketball, finishing at or near the bottom of the league in most years. The previous season saw Gonzaga winless in league play.
Led by 6-5 captain Frank Laney, and Ed Whitford, the 1939-40 squad looked to turn things around. All the City League teams were confident they would put an end to the seven-year run of Squinty Hunter and Lewis and Clark. In non-league play all the teams sported winning records, save LC, who was 1-4 in an abbreviated schedule. Gonzaga was 8-3.
The Spokane City League only had four teams in 1939, which played each other four times during conference play. As it turned out, LC saved its best for when it counted, winning the championship for the eighth straight time. The Tigers finished two games ahead of Gonzaga, beating the Pups narrowly in three of the four games.
Shortly after the end of league play, Gonzaga had one game left before the season ended. Seattle Prep came to Spokane to play the Bullpups for the Catholic High School State Championship.
The game was played at Gonzaga University, and the Panthers came to town sporting an unblemished 20-0 record. Gonzaga was 15-8 for the season and a decided underdog.
It was a close contest. The game was tied at halftime at 17. In the third quarter, Whitford scored 7 of his game high 13 points as the Bullpups took the lead, outscoring the Panthers 15-6. Gonzaga pulled off the upset 37-30, to win its first trophy of any kind in basketball since 1932.