Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Bill Pierce’s almanac: Valley schools rule in 1968

In 1968, the Spokane Athletic Board of Control voted to abandon the 10-team Spokane City League basketball format and to go to a six-team league the following year.  Central Valley, Mead, University and West Valley would then leave to play basketball in the Border League.

CV was the defending City champion, having finished third in state under Coach Ray Thacker in 1967. The team returned all but one player for the new season. State veterans, Brad Lewis, Scott Stetson, Morris Moe, Barry Wills and Scott Forbes had their eye on a state title.

University, under the leadership of Marv Ainsworth, also returned a strong crew.  Rick Rawlings, Dick Luhn, Tim Vaughn, Dick Hendrickson and Dick Lentz were among their star players. After two early season losses to the Bears, the team steadily improved and began to roll up win after win.

On Feb. 9 at Central Valley, the two teams met for the third time. CV entered the game ranked No. 1 in the state, along with an 18-game win streak. U-Hi came in at 14-3. In front of 2500 screaming fans, Rawlings scored 16 points to lead the Titans to an upset 42-41 victory.  

Two weeks later, the teams met again at the Spokane Coliseum for the league championship.  Again, the Titans came out on top, edging the Bears 63-60 to win their first (and last) City League title. Rawlings had 24 points in the victory.

Both teams qualified for the regionals, along with Pasco and Richland. Only one spot was available from eastern Washington to the four-team state finals. As expected, the two Valley teams wound up facing each other for the championship. This time CV came away with the victory, 49-33, punching its ticket to the Seattle Center Arena.  Lewis scored 30 to lead the way for the Bears.

The next weekend, Central Valley won the state championship, defeating Lincoln of Tacoma 62-48. Lewis was named MVP of the tournament. CV’s final record was 25-2, with both losses to University. The Titans finished at 19-4, with three of the four losses to the Bears. With a state and league championship to their credit, the two Valley schools had a memorable final season in the City League.

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

Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.