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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bill Pierce’s almanac: In 1932, classwork trumps state tournament appearance for Gonzaga High

Gonzaga High School made some history in 1932. In the six previous seasons of the Spokane City League, only two schools had come away with the city title, Lewis and Clark and North Central.

At the beginning of the season, Coach John “Puggy” Hunton wasn’t sure how well his team would fare, but as the year progressed, the Bullpups became the team to beat. Their success was led by Pat Devlin, John Molitor and John Reilly.

With their narrow 23-22 victory over NC to end the regular season, the Bullpups guaranteed their first league title, finishing at 7-2 to Lewis and Clark’s 5-3. The win also qualified them for their first trip to the Washington State Basketball Tournament in Seattle, or so they thought.

Five days after the win over North Central, Gonzaga administration officials made a decision the Bullpups would not be participating in the State Tournament.  The Gonzaga faculty was concerned that players would be absent from classroom work for too long.

A week later, Lewis and Clark accepted an invitation to the State Tournament, taking the place of Gonzaga. Coach E. L. “Squinty” Hunter saying, “Our task is to represent the Spokane District , we were not the city champions this year, but we finished close to the leaders and believe we can make a worthy showing at Seattle.”

LC did indeed make the most of their unexpected trip, losing only a semifinal contest to eventual state champion Ellensburg, to take third place.

It was probably no consolation to the Gonzaga team watching from the sidelines, knowing they had defeated the Tigers twice in league play, and no doubt wondering how they would have done on the bigger stage.

It wasn’t until 1946, fourteen years later, that the Bullpups finally made their first State Tournament appearance.


Bill Pierce
Bill Pierce is a sports blogger who writes the weekly nwprepsnow prep sports almanac.

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