Bill Pierce has been collecting Spokane-area sports stats and facts for years, piecing together the most comprehensive history of your favorite teams, players and coaches going back to the early 1900s.
NWPrepsNow is excited to share his wealth of knowledge, combining his historical data with The Spokesman-Review’s own sports archives, including photos, stories and stats from around the region. To start, we’re rolling out info from the GSL since 1976, but expect more to come as data becomes available.
The Harrington High basketball team was on a mission for the 1964-65 season. It had just missed winning the state B championship the prior year, losing in the final seconds to Cathlamet in the championship game.
Most of the team returned, including Dennis Bly, Dick Hoffman, Robert Watson and Tom Manke. They had a new coach, Rich Juarez, fresh from his playing days at Gonzaga, and taking on his first head coaching position.
Juarez introduced a swarming defense to the team, which caused opponents fits. The Panthers picked up the nickname “the piranhas” for their aggressive press.
Harrington rolled through the regular season without a loss, and with only a handful of games being contested. In one game The Panthers rolled up 126 points.
They took the Bi-District Tournament No. 1 seed with a win over Davenport, the first time Harrington had won that title since 1951.
The Pirates moved on to the NE District playoffs, where again they came out on top, qualifying once again for the state tournament. It was the first NE championship for the school since 1949.
Harrington arrived in Spokane with a 20-0 record. The first game was against Entiat. The starters only played about half a game as the Panthers easily won, 57-29.
After dispatching Lyle, 90-52, inflicting 35 turnovers, and Palouse, 64-46, the Panthers found themselves in the title game, facing their foe of the previous year, Cathlamet . Revenge was sweet, as Bly scored 30 points in a 79-61 win. The Panther defense caused 26 turnovers. Harrington finished the season 24-0 and state champions, fulfilling a quest. Bly was voted to the all-tournament team.
Juarez retired undefeated as a high school coach. The following season he returned to Gonzaga as an assistant coach. Dennis Bly joined him to continue his basketball career as a Bulldog.