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


Bill Pierce’s Almanac: Marycliff’s brief splash in the GSL

When the girls took to the basketball courts in 1976 to inaugurate the first season of the Greater Spokane League they fielded one more team than the boys. Marycliff, a small girl’s school, was an active member of the new league for the first three years.

The school was mainly housed in a Victorian Tudor home on seven acres of land located on the lower South Hill. Originally built in 1896 by F. Lewis Clark and named “Undercliff”, the home and acreage was donated to the Catholic Church and became the Marycliff School when the then owner, B. L. Gordon, died in 1929.

In the GSL, the girls competed as the “Dollies”, and their mascot was represented as a Raggedy Ann Doll. With less funding and facilities than their larger league cousins, practice sites and varsity contests were often away from the school. Many of their “home” games were played at Morning Star Boys Ranch.

Darel Maxfield was the coach of the basketball squad in the first year, Lilia Ko, the school’s athletic director, took over for the last two seasons. The coaches often used their own funds to supply the team with needed equipment.

With their much smaller enrollment, the team didn’t have much success against the larger schools in the league, winning only four games in the three seasons in which they participated. Their highlight victory was probably in their very first league game, a 42-36 win over Lewis and Clark.

They also participated in other sports, even upsetting Mead in softball one year.

The school closed after the 1979 season and the girls moved on to other schools, with a few joining the teams of their past rivals. Many transferred to Gonzaga Prep, which had become co-educational in 1975.

It didn’t last long, but for a brief period of time the Marycliff Dollies were a proud member of the Greater Spokane 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.