By S. Quinn DeJoy and J. Murrer
Feb. 8, 2017: The Bronxville High School Athletic Council celebrated the 35th anniversary of the 1982 Class C basketball championship this past Saturday at the annual Bronco Bonanza. In attendance were ten members of the '82 team, family members, and Vito Priore, the former BHS athletic director and assistant basketball coach. To see photos of the event, click here.
The varsity team members included John Shultz, Bill Wingertzahn, Wayne Soodek, Craig Keenan, Tom Wingertzahn, Ray Laraja, Tom Healy, John Priore, Rad Smith, Patrick Dowd, Jamie Allen, and Robb Harr. They came from places as far away as Florida, Seattle, and North Carolina, and even one of their classmates who did not play basketball came in from Cincinnati just to support his friends.
The 1982 Bronco team along with Assistant Coach Vito Priore (far right). Photo by T. Reilly.
The '82 Broncos lost only one regular season game and during the Section I tournament beat Alexander Hamilton, Pleasantville, and Valhalla to win the Class C Gold Ball. The Broncos entered the state tournament with a 21-1 record and lost to Section 11 Champ Wyandanch 79-65. Wyandanch ended up winning the Class C State Tournament.
On Saturday, before the boys' varsity game, the three present team captains, Jack Reilly, Alston Tarry, and Matt Toal, gave the '82 team a tour of the school, highlighting the new weight and cardio rooms and new C wing. They were able to walk through the kindergarten halls and enjoyed strolls down the "old" hallways, which they all noted have not really changed much.
At the end of the tour, the '82 team had a chance to sit down with the present varsity team and had a great and inspiring talk. The '82 team members emphasized how Coach Green had taught them to play an unselfish team-oriented brand of basketball, which was the key to winning the Class C Championship. The '82 team encouraged the boys to set their minds on their goal this season and to continue to work toward their ultimate goal of a County Center appearance.
The two teams meet to discuss the game. Photo by T. Reilly.
At the Bronco Bonanza, the fans dressed up in their favorite character costumes, and halftime festivities included an elementary school basketball game.
Broncos fans dress up as their favorite character. Photo by N. Flannery.
At the conclusion of the basketball game, the 1982 team was introduced, along with Vito Priore, and joined at half court by former varsity coach Bill Green's daughter, Betsy Reilly. Coach Green, former athletic director at Bronxville, passed away in 2014 at the age of 89. The Athletic Council presented them with a brand-new banner, which will hang in the gym. The banner, in memory of Bill Green, commemorates his two Section 1 Championships, one in 1966 and the other in 1982.
The presentation of the banner at halftime. Photo by T. Reilly.
The highlight of halftime was presenting the '82 team with a new "Gold Ball" to replace the original, which had been destroyed in the 2007 flood. It will now sit proudly in the trophy case.
It was a successful day for the Broncos. The girls' team defeated Edgemont 61-37, and the boys' team also defeated Edgemont, 68-44. Boys' coach Brian Senior was recognized at halftime for winning his 100th game earlier in the week.
Coach Brian Senior recognized for his 100th Bronco win. Photo by T. Reilly.
After the game, the team and a handful of guests adjourned to Fogarty's to revel in their glory for one more night. Tim McGrath, who was just in seventh grade when this '82 team played, spent time with the team at the Bronco Bonanza.
"Please pass on the heartfelt thanks from the '82 team to the entire Athletic Council," said McGrath. "They were all blown away by the reception they were given. They really felt honored and embraced by the entire day and all the hard work that clearly went into making it so special for them. They now feel a strong connection to the present team, and I hope they feel the same way. Many have vowed to come back when they make it to the County Center."
Pictured at top: The 1982 basketball team was presented with a new Gold Ball at the Bronco Bonanza.
Photo by J. Murrer.