By: Jake Gray

The Pennsbury Falcons were able to defeat the Neshaminy Redskins 42-32 at home Thursday on their way to a co-SOL Championship with the Redskins.

Walking into the Falcon’s Nest, you could tell that this was about to be one for the ages. The entire gym was packed — the biggest turnout all season. PHS’s student section showed up in droves, as did Neshaminy fans. Both sides of the gym were filled with energy, each craving the title, or at least a portion of it.

An interesting wrinkle to this game: Neshaminy came in to the game just one win ahead of PHS, finishing with a 10-0 league record. Pennsbury, on the other hand, had only lost once: their match against Neshaminy. So, now it was on the Falcons to succeed where they hadn’t before and defeat the Skins.

An 8-2 Neshaminy run early had Falcons fans nervous. They had a hard time getting into a good rhythm as shots just wouldn’t fall. Ava Sciolla’s four points led PHS in the quarter, ending with a score of 13-6. Neshaminy’s Kristen Curley got off to a hot start; she finished with a team high 14 points (congratulations to her for scoring her 1000th career point!).

The second quarter didn’t start much better for the Falcons. Sciolla continued to pursue post-ups, but was unsuccessful. Pennsbury was still unable to score effectively. However, about halfway through the quarter, things began to turn around. Neshaminy fouled heavily to start the game, and Pennsbury was able to turn the tide in their favor. Kiley Haws’ layup and one off of a Pennsbury steal marked a momentum shift. Bella Arcuri, playing through injury, scored to end the half (2 of her 11 points), ending with PHS leading 17-13.

Sciolla emerged from the locker room hungry to start the second half. She scored Pennsbury’s first seven points (on her way to a game high 22) of the half to put the Falcons up 20-17. They were finally beginning to click offensively, but the Skins weren’t far behind. They kept pace, finishing the quarter 23-22 in favor of PHS.

The scoring remained consistent, but so did the defense. Finally, Pennsbury’s Mary Miller hit her first FG of the game (a nice three) to put the game at 28-24. From there, the Falcons grabbed full control of the game and didn’t look back. The Skins were able to score, but they couldn’t find success on the other end of the floor. Pennsbury’s stalwart interior defense stopped any real chance of a Neshaminy comeback. From there, they had few other options but to foul. Ava Sciolla’s steal with nine seconds left finished the game. Pennsbury had won their first league title since 2006.

The crowd was electric. Roars of excitement went throughout the crowd. Tears of joy were shed. The Falcons had done it. Fan favorite Mackenzie Rooney told a story of the team before the game. After gesturing to a banner of league championships, she explained: “We saw that before the game and we pointed at it and said, ‘we’re gonna add 2020 to that.’”

Coach Sciolla was, of course, immensely proud. He radiated pure joy. When he spoke amidst the celebration, he cited all the tribulations the team had overcome to get them to this point. “First of all, we had some adversity before the season… Cami [Wiegamd, former Falcon] obviously not playing, people stepped up; Nicole got hurt, people stepped up… you’re happy. You’re happy because we haven’t done this in a while… look at the atmosphere here today. Have you saw anything like that in your time here?”

I haven’t. I don’t think I will again.