Basketball in the Coliseum brought Bobo Brayton, the former WSU baseball coach and master storyteller, to Spokane in Brayton’s days as a high school official.
He replays a Central Valley-West Valley playoff from the early ‘60s with Ray Thacker on the Central Valley bench and Jud Heathcote - now in his final year at Michigan State - at West Valley.
“Heathcote was the young guy challenging the powerhouse,” Brayton said. “The place was packed, bodies were flying every which way and Heathcote jumped straight up as only he can do and fires a towel.
“He yells, ‘Call something!’
“The ball was changing hands - Thacker did a lot of pressing - and it got sloppy. I guess we were supposed to stop the sloppiness by blowing the whistle.
“At halftime, the officials had to check the scorebook. Ray came up behind me. He takes a big sweep of the arm likes he’s gathering in the sheaves and hisses, ‘Keep it cleannnn.”’
Brayton in ‘65 was back in the Coliseum, officiating a regional game that involved the Richland Bombers and a star guard named Ray Stein.
“I can still see in my mind’s eye that game in the old barn,” Brayton said, “with old Ray driving the key with every ligament and muscle under stress, his jaw tight and his eyes bugged out. What a picture that would have made.
“He poured through and stuck her in the hole. I told Marv (Harshman) later - I was his assistant coach - ‘We got to have that guy.”’
Harsh and Bobo did get their man. Stein became a Coug.