The 1948 Spokane City League basketball race was a wild one. Spokane was allocated two spots to the state tournament, and the battle for that second selection went down to the wire.
Led by the record-breaking scoring of George Chalich, Ray Thacker’s Central Valley squad won the city championship, and the automatic bid.
Bob Brumblay’s North Central team had to defeat CV in the final league game of the season even to have a chance at matching Lewis and Clark for second. They did just that, upsetting the Bears, 51-39.
A few days later, in a showdown at the Spokane Armory to determine the second seed, NC defeated LC in overtime, 45-43. Don Cameron provided the late points for the win.
North Central made the most of its trip to the state tournament. In the first game, the Indians easily defeated Battle Ground, 43-27. Fred Martin led the team with 15 points. In the quarterfinals, they handled Everett 49-39, which put them into the semifinals against South Kitsap, who earlier had ended CV’s state title hopes.
The next night, NC protected a narrow lead the whole game against the Wolves. It held up as South Kitsap fell, 43-42 with Glen Burton scoring 17 points for the Indians. The win sent North Central into the title game against Bremerton.
In the championship game, North Central, with Cameron scoring 14, and Burton 11, along with outstanding defense by Lowry Bennett, took the state crown, defeating the Wildcats, 42-37.
Bennett was named to the All State 1st Team, the first time a player was selected based on defensive ability. Cameron and Burton were second-team selections. CV’s George Chalich was a unanimous 1st-team choice. Decades later, Chalich became the head basketball coach at North Central.