The Greater Spokane League has become the premiere league for girls high school basketball over the past quarter century.
Most area schools started their present day girls programs in the early 1970s, just before the formation of the GSL. The first State Basketball Tournament for the girls was in 1974. Spokane schools were quiet in those early years with only a second place finish by Coach Linda Sheridan’s Shadle Park team in 1981 as the only appearance in a championship game.
In 1988, Shadle Park and Lewis and Clark met for the state title. Shadle won the game, and that began the era of GSL dominance that continues to the present day. Since that year, Greater Spokane League schools have won 14 state titles, and finished second on 9 other occasions. Two of those second-place finishes were to another GSL school. Since 2001, there have only been three championship games without a Greater Spokane League school participating.
A number of GSL schools have multiple championships, led by Lewis and Clark and Mead with four each, Central Valley has three, and Shadle Park, two. Gonzaga Prep won the title last season and looks like a strong contender to defend its trophy.
Sheridan leads the names of coaches who have successfully led teams to the top spot, with Jeanne Helfer and Quantae Anderson of Mead, Dale Poffenroth at Central Valley, and Jim Redmon of Lewis and Clark following in her footsteps. Mike Arte of Gonzaga Prep is the latest coach to add to the luster of the GSL at state.
Some prominent names of GSL players who have competed at state are Lori Lollis, Stacy Clinesmith, Emily Westerberg, Heather Bowman, Katelan Redmon, Angie Bjorklund, Brittany Kennedy and Jazmine Redmon. They are a few of thousands of young ladies who finally had the chance to prove their athletic talents when their sisters of an earlier era were denied that right and thought to be too delicate to participate in interscholastic competition.
If you haven’t taken in a girls’ basketball game at the local level, you’re missing some of the best competition, year in and year out, in the state of Washington.