In 1954, Spokane was very proud of its new sporting arena, the Spokane Coliseum.
Spokane high school basketball teams had played in a number of venues through the years, including Gonzaga University and the Spokane Armory. It was said you might be able to shoehorn 2,000 people into the Armory.The new arena could seat three times as many people.
The Spokane City League was going to play its entire season in the Coliseum, featuring triple headers. Central Valley had rejoined the league after a five year absence, making the format possible.
The opening night for league play was Jan. 7, 1955. The first game was scheduled for 6:30 pm. The evening got underway with Miss Spokane, Diane Rumburg, tossing up the ball for Rogers and North Central. Rogers edged NC, 54-50 in overtime. Darrell Stone had 17 for the winners. Perry Jordan scored 20 for NC in the loss.
The second contest, between Gonzaga Prep and Lewis and Clark, wasn’t as close. Squinty Hunter and his LC team had not taken advantage of the chance given the schools to work out in the arena the previous day, which probably contributed to its cold shooting as the Tigers lost 52-36. Norm Trauba had 16 for the Bullpups.
The late contest saw Miss Spokane Valley, Kay Johnson, toss the jump ball for rivals Central Valley and West Valley. It was another barn burner, with Jud Heathcote’s Eagles winning the second overtime game of the night, 53-50. John Maras had 16 for West Valley, Merle Martinson 20 for CV.
The night was a huge success with more than 6,000 attending the games. It was the first of what was to become a regular feature of Spokane high school basketball. For years to come, triple headers allowed a fan a unique chance to spend evenings watching every league game, one after the other.
The Coliseum is long gone, replaced by the Spokane Arena, and there are no longer triple headers as the games have returned to school gyms. But many older fans fondly remember the long evenings of basketball at the old Boone Street Barn.