Shelly Ritz-Buntz was not only a 1000-point scorer for the West Hazleton High girls basketball team, but she was also the 1983 class salutatorian.
She was the leader of three Lady Wildcat teams, two coached by Cal Ferrari and one coached by Robbie Wallace, that won Schuylkill League championships.
“Shelley had great ability as a shooter,” Ferrari said. “If there was a three-point field goal at the time, she would have excelled from long range. Smart and intelligent as a player, she was as good a student as she was an athlete. She was also a team player, an exceptional all-around player.”
“Shelley was a fabolous athlete and student,” Wallace said. “She’s the best pure shooter I have seen in this area, male or female. In her senior year, she played great basketball and carried us, especially when we had to beat Marian to win the league championship. She was a true team captain and one of the best leading by example.”
The Lady Wildcats finished 22-7 in Shelly’s senior year. She went on to the University of Scranton where she started at guard four straight seasons from 1984-1987. She finished her college career with 1,385 points, a team record 19 (of 26) field goals in one game and a flock of honors. Academically, Shelley was twice named a National GTE Academic All-American and was salutatorian of her physical therapy class.
Wallace said she was the first athlete to complete her physical therapy major in four years ad receive a degree. It usually takes five years. Normally, he said a physical therapy major isn’t permitted to compete in varsity athletics because of the demands of the course.
In 1985, she was a standout performer on a NCAA Division III national championship team. The 1987 Scranton team finished in third place in the national tournament.
Her athletic honors included ECAC Rookie of the Year, MAC and ECAC All-Star and induction into the University Wall of Fame.
Shelley and her husband, writer Ken Buntz, have three children, Sam, Austin, and Zoe, and she is a physical therapist for Hi-Tech Home Health. In the community, she is a member of the CVCO building committee board and coach of the Shooting Stars 5-6 team.
Her parents are Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ritz. Her father is a retired Hazleton Area School District administrator and a former West Hazleton High and Cornell University athlete.