Photo by Peyton Guercio (@guercio.visuals/IG)

By Benjamin Goldstein

Earlier this season, senior guard Sofia Vitucci became the seventh girl to score 1,000 points at Pennsbury High School. The milestones did not end with her for the Lady Falcons in the 2023-24 season.

In a 43-33 victory, head coach Frank Sciolla recorded his 500th career victory. However, Sciolla was not completely focused on the major accomplishment postgame.

“In the moment right now, it’s more about how I’m really happy how we played in the second half. That’s the first thought that really comes to my head.”

Sciolla is the third basketball head coach in Bucks County to reach 500 career wins. He joins legends Tony Chapman of Holy Ghost Prep for 43 years recording 928 career wins and Cleve Christie of Solebury for 38 years recording 508 wins.

Something that stands out about Sciolla is his constant humbleness. He is always looking out for his team first before even thinking about his accolades. Even on the night he reached his 500th win, he acknowledged the girls who led Pennsbury to their eighth win of the season.

“Our girls who are seniors really stepped up. I thought Presley Foote hit a big shot, Soph [Vitucci] is Soph, Layla [Mathias] was tremendous, and Jolie Hohman was able to have some success tonight.”

Pennsbury was down 29-28 with 6:38 left to go, and then Foote’s three-pointer sailed the ship in the direction of the home Lady Falcons. They went on a 14-5 run led by Vitucci and Hohman to close out the win over the Central Bucks South Titans.

“In terms of the bigger picture of 500, it makes you think back to your career,” Sciolla said postgame. “Mr. Mahoney was here doing the PA announcing, he was with me for a lot of those boy’s games. I have had a lot of people here at Pennsbury that I have been able to model and been able to watch. Frank McSherry with softball, Galen Snyder with football, Joe Pesci with baseball who was here tonight.”

Sciolla has coached for 28 years spread out between Pennsbury boys for 15 years, Bristol Boys for two years, Conwell Egan for three years where he won a state championship, and now is back with Pennsbury coaching the girls for the past eight years.

With the Pennsbury boys, Sciolla helped develop 40 players for the ranks of college basketball, had a 100% academic eligibility rate, earned seven conference championships, including a league record 60-game conference winning streak, defeated four nationally ranked teams, helped create and facilitate the creation of one of the largest youth basketball programs in the state, was a seven-time coach of the year, and left Pennsbury as the all-time leader in wins, conference championships, and win percentage.

At Bristol, he took over a four-win team that graduated its two leading scorers, guiding that team to 16 wins and a league championship in year one, and won coach of the year in 2012.

Then at Conwell Egan, Sciolla took over an eight-win team in 2014. Egan had not won a playoff game in 53 years. A year later, he became the 2015 Pennsylvania State AA Champions, defeating undefeated Aliquippa in the state title game. They became the first team in Bucks County to win a boy’s state title in 40 years. Sciolla went on to win the Pennsylvania Sportswriters State Coach of the Year in 2015. He won the District 12 Championship a year later. Sciolla helped send eight players to the ranks of college basketball, had a 100% academic eligibility rate, and in three years became the all-time leader in win percentage finishing with a winning record three straight years for the first time in Conwell Egan’s history.

Sciolla returned to Pennsbury to coach the girls, which was a four-win program the year before he took over. They made the playoffs in 2018, won the school’s first home playoff game in 12 years in 2019, won the school’s first league title in 14 years in 2020, made the school’s second-ever trip to the District 1 Final, and reached the state quarterfinals before the season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many believed that the team could have won the state championship if the season was not cut short. Sciolla led the Lady Falcons to three straight league championships from 2020-2022 for the first time in the 72-year history of Pennsbury and has reached the district final four in three of the last four seasons.

“I’ve gone through four coaching staffs through all my travels and I’ve learned so much from them. I’ve taken so much from these incredible people as we’ve gone into these things and I never thought 500 would be there because I’ve taken some jobs that have been challenges.

“You don’t really think about milestones in terms of wins. You think about turning programs around trying to have fun and learning from young people. I don’t think anyone in Bucks County has coached as many good players as I have. I’ve been fortunate and have been lucky enough to have many of the best players to have come through the county and that’s how you get to numbers like this.”