High school rivalries aren’t new. Long before the Rubber Chicken, Groovy Shoes, Stinky Sneaker and Catmania spirit games, students were cheering to beat their arch-rival in sports.
A century ago, Lewis and Clark and North Central, the only two public schools in Spokane, had an intense rivalry. In 1916, they had met every year since the opening of LC in 1912, to determine the city championship in basketball.
At that time, NC had won the crown three straight years and the Tigers were determined to end the streak. Coaches Emil Hinderman of LC and Arthur Woodward of NC were looking forward to a spirited series.
The first game was played at LC on Jan. 6. The Indians dominated the game, winning 23-9 with George Shannon scoring 10 for the winners. Ray Rudberg had the only basket for LC.
A week later, North Central prevailed again, but in a much closer contest, 23-19. With another victory the Indians would claim the city crown for the fourth straight year.
The following two weeks saw the Tigers rally and tie the series at two games apiece, setting up a final contest at LC on Feb. 9. Both schools had decided to disband their teams after that game. One of the factors in the decision was a Spokane school board edict that would not allow either team to play games outside the city, making scheduling opponents difficult.
The fans turned out in droves for the final contest. The doors were closed at 3:10 in the afternoon with fans 6 to 8 deep along the sidelines. Approximately 700 were in attendance, with hundreds gathered at the windows. One was broken and the glass had to be removed from the floor before the game got underway. Former LC yell leader, Johnny Gamble, managed to get in through a window, eliciting cheers from the Tiger faithful.
It was close, with North Central up 11-10 at half. In the second half the Indians pulled away to gain their fourth city championship, 30-22. All who participated that afternoon are now gone, but the school spirit shown back then still lives on in the students of today.