The offseason began early for Wyoming Valley Conference basketball teams.
While the WVC sits out this weekend’s round of PIAA playoff basketball games, it’s a good time to look back at a few pieces of history with some of the most notable players who faced off against WVC teams in past years.
Sam Bowie, 1979 Lebanon vs. Bishop Hoban
The No. 2 overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, 7-foot-1 Bowie was held to 14 points in a 65-60 loss to coach Chet Hine and Bishop Hoban in the 1979 PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals.
Marc Blucas, 1990 Girard vs. GAR
Blucas was a 6-foot-4 senior for the Girard Yellow Jackets, who beat GAR, 59-49, in the 1990 PIAA Class 2A championship game. At the time, Blucas was the school’s all-time leader in points and rebounds. He went on to play at Wake Forest on scholarship and became a pretty famous actor.
Donyell Marshall, 1990 Reading vs. Coughlin
Marshall scored 20 points on 10 field goals in Reading’s 78-56 win against Coughlin in the first round of the 1990 PIAA Class 4A playoffs. Marshall was a junior. He returned the next year and led Reading to a 62-44 second-round win against Hazleton Area, against which he scored 26 points. Marshall averaged 11.2 points per game over 957 games in the NBA.
Kobe Bryant, 1995 Lower Merion vs. Hazleton Area
The surefire Hall of Famer scored 33 points with 14 rebounds, but still came up on the losing end against Hazleton Area in the Cougars’ 64-59 overtime win in the PIAA Class 4A second round.
John Salmons, 1997 Plymouth-Whitemarsh vs. Hazleton Area
Long before his NBA career that featured stops in Sacramento, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Chicago, Toronto and New Orleans, Salmons scored 18 points in a 66-59 Plymouth-Whitemarsh win against Hazleton Area in the PIAA Class 4A first round.
Chevy Troutman, 2000 Williamsport vs. Valley West
Troutman was a 6-foot-5 senior center when he scored 14 points in the Millionaires’ 67-60 win against Valley West in the District 2/4 Class 4A subregional championship. It was technically not the state tournament, but close enough, in that it qualified Williamsport for PIAAs. Troutman played at Pitt, starting 70 games and appearing in 124. He scored 1,274 career points for the Panthers.
Ja’Quan Newton, 2014 Neumann-Goretti vs. GAR
Newton led all scorers with 19 points in Neumann-Goretti’s 73-55 win against GAR in the second round of the PIAA Class 3A playoffs. Newton went on to play at Miami (Fla.) and scored 1,145 points and made 58 starts over his four-year career.
Isaiah Washington, 2014 Williamsport vs. Hazleton Area
Like Troutman, this one was just shy of the PIAA tournament, but we’ll count it anyway. Hazleton Area defeated Williamsport, 60-48, for the 2014 District 2/4 Class 4A subregional title. Washington scored 19 points in the loss. Washington played two seasons at Penn State and then transferred to Quinnipiac.
Quade Green, 2017 Neumann-Goretti vs. Holy Redeemer
Green was one of two high-profile recruits (along with Villanova’s Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree) who led the Saints to a 72-27 PIAA Class 3A second-round win against Redeemer. Green averaged 9.3 points per game as a freshman guard at Kentucky, but he recently announced his intentions to transfer to Washington.
Isaiah Wong, 2019 Bonner-Prendergast vs. Nanticoke Area
The newest addition to this list, Wong, a 4-star guard who will play at Miami (Fla.), didn’t score a point in the first half of the PIAA Class 4A second round against Nanticoke Area. Then, he caught fire and helped Bonner-Prendergast win 70-52.
UPDATE, 7:44 p.m. March 15: Add Billy Owens to the list. Owens played in college at Syracuse and professionally with a handful of teams. Before any of that, though, he won four straight PIAA Class 4A state championships with Carlisle, eliminating Hazleton Area from the tournament in 1985 and ’88.