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Shadle Park quarterback Mark Rypien. Dec. 4, 1980. Photo Archive/The Spokesman-Review. (Photo Archive/spokesman-review)
Shadle Park quarterback Mark Rypien. Dec. 4, 1980. Photo Archive/The Spokesman-Review. (Photo Archive/spokesman-review)

Almanac Blog by Bill Pierce

1965 Harrington Basketball

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.