Elra “Squinty” Hunter entered his 39th, and last, season as coach of the Lewis and Clark boys basketball team in 1963 with a strong group of returning players that went 20-5 the prior year.
Led by Lance Brigham, Jay Bond and Bob Lobdell, the Tigers were the favorites to take the City League championship in 1964.
It turned out to be a spirited three-way race for the league crown as Rogers and University battled LC for the top spot. It was U-Hi’s first year in the City League.
Midway through the season, LC suffered back-to-back losses to the Pirates and Titans. At one point all three teams were tied at the top with 8-2 records. In the second round of play, LC edged U-Hi in overtime 54-51, and crushed Rogers 63-33 to take over first place on the way to Hunter’s 21st league championship.
Brigham broke the league scoring record with an average of 20.8 per game. In his final league contest against Central Valley he scored 31.
The first year of regional play was 1964 in which only four teams qualified to go to Seattle. LC, Rogers, Davis of Yakima, and Richland faced off at the Spokane Coliseum to see which would represent eastern Washington in the state finals.
The Tigers suffered a major setback when both starting guards, Lobdell and Don Johnson, suffered injuries causing them to miss the first game against Davis. In spite of their absence, LC edged the Pirates 56-50.
In the regional championship, Lobdell returned, playing with a tightly wrapped sprained ankle, but the No. 1-ranked Richland Bombers ended LC’ s season with a 45-39 victory in spite of Brigham’s 25 points.
After the game, Squinty’s final team quietly shook hands with their legendary coach, realizing an era had ended for the school.