In the late 1980s, Lewis and Clark and Shadle Park developed a rivalry in girls basketball that established the Greater Spokane League as one of the premiere leagues for that sport in the state of Washington.
As the two teams approached postseason in 1988, Linda Sheridan’s league champion Shadle Park team had an 18-2 record, with its only league loss coming at the hand of Terry Reed’s Tigers, who had finished one game behind and came into the playoffs at 17-3.
The Highlanders were led by scoring champion and league MVP, Lori Lollis, along with Tania Childress, Lisa Churchwell and Shannon Douglas. LC’s leading players included Kelley Cunningham, Julie Lemery, Dory Reeves and Molly Wallblom.
In a late season surge, Lewis and Clark defeated Shadle Park twice for both the District and Regional titles as both qualified for the state tournament. In Seattle, each survived narrow victories in the semifinals to find themselves facing one another for the state title.
The championship game was hard fought with Shadle Park winning the crown, 62-58. The teams shared hugs after the final buzzer. The Highlanders finished the season at 26-3, while the Tigers were 24-5. Lollis was named outstanding player for the tournament.
The following year found the same two teams competing for top honors in the GSL. This time, LC won the league championship, going undefeated and beating Shadle twice during the regular season. They continued their dominance in the playoffs, beating the Highlanders one more time for the District title. Lollis again was the league scoring champion, but was replaced as league MVP by Cunningham of LC.
At the state tournament it looked like another matchup for the championship between the two was possible as each easily made it into the semifinals. There, the Tigers ran into Auburn, ranked 19th nationally. They lost the game 52-40, while the Highlanders defeated Franklin, 67-54, giving them the chance to defend their state crown.
Shadle Park had little trouble with Auburn the next night, winning 63-44, for its second championship in a row. The Highlanders finished at 26-4. Lewis and Clark took third by beating Frankin, 71-52, finishing the season at 27-2. Lollis and Dory Reeves of the Tigers were named to the all-tournament team and Lollis was selected as Washington State Player of the Year. The Greater Spokane League was now definitely on the map.