The Wyoming Area boys basketball team completed a winning record and made the District 2 Class 4A playoffs for the second straight season.
The No. 4 seeded Warriors kept their season alive with a 44-43 win over Hanover Area to reach the semifinals. The result of the semifinal matchup was unavailable for this edition.
The Warriors’ rise to relevancy these past two seasons has been impressive considering their winning seasons came after a dreadful stretch of losing, including a winless 2013-14 season.
Pete Moses was hired as coach after the winless season and the program has been on an upward trend since.
The last time the Wyoming Area boys program won a District 2 championship was in 2000, which was the first since 1971 and still only the second in program history.
The Warriors beat Valley View in the District 2 championship game, Garden Spot in the first round of the PIAA Championships and lost to Susquehanna Twp. in the second round to finish 21-9.
Matt Bowen was the leading scorer on the 2000 team, but not by much.
“You never knew who would be the leading scorer in a game,” he said. “There was no selfishness. Nobody was greedy for points.”
P. J. Sciandra was the point guard. Brian Wolcott was a football player and perfect basketball role player — rebounding, passing and rarely shooting. Bowen was a guard/forward wingman, Joe Falzone was the power forward and Steve Buzinski was at center.
At least that was the lineup when everybody was healthy. In the same game in December, Buzinski broke a bone in his right hand and Falzone separated his shoulder. Buzinski had surgery to insert four screws. He missed eight games. Falzone missed several weeks. Falzone and Buzinski were the heart of the frontcourt. Both were tough rebounders.
Buzinski was the second leading scorer, rarely shooting outside the paint, scoring on tip-ins, dunks and offensive putbacks. He was 6-foot-3, but played much bigger. He left Wyoming Area as the school record-holder in the high jump, clearing 6-7 to win the gold medal at the District 2 championships in 2001.
Buzinski and Falzone were perfect fits for coach C.J. Bufalino, who emphasized defense.
But when Buzinski and Falzone were out, Andy Castanaro, the quarterback on the football team, and Steve Selenski were plugged in and kept the team afloat.
In the District 2 championship game against Valley View, Buzinski blocked eight shots and Falzone led the Warriors in scoring with 19. Bowen only scored six, but he was just out of the hospital having missed two games with pneumonia.
Bowen had a knack for buzzer beaters. He hit one in a win over Wallenpaupack in the first round and again in the first round state playoffs to beat Garden Spot 65-64.
Bowen said teamwork was second nature to the 2000 Warriors.
“We played together a lot,” he said. “We were unbeaten in the summer league. We knew each other well. It was a great team to play with.”
But basketball wasn’t even Bowen’s best sport. He was a runner. He won District 2 gold medals in the 3200 and the 3200 relay, medaled in D2 cross county, qualified for states in cross country, and won a state medal in the individual 3200.
Today, Bowen is married with two kids and working as a county corrections officer. He is one of the most successful Warrior athletes of all time having advanced to states in three sports.