Joe Maiella has seen it plenty of times before. Vinny Scifo flew towards the rim and dropped in a basket while also drawing a foul on a Reading defender. After seeing the ball drop through the hoop, however, the next sight Maiella witnessed is one he’d like to forget.
Following the bucket, Scifo walked towards the bench with his arm dangling, and after a trip to the doctor’s office, the news was worse than Scifo and his coach hoped for.
The team’s star player dislocated his shoulder and tore his labrum on Friday night. Following surgery, Scifo will need six to eight months to recover from the injury, and is expected to miss all of the spring baseball season in addition to the remaining games on the hardwood.
“I feel so bad for Vinny. He’s a fantastic kid and does everything the right way. It’s a real shame that he got hurt. He’s what high school sports are all about, a kid like that. He just keeps his mouth shut, works hard and doesn’t complain,” said Maiella. “I can live with the fact of losing a basketball game. But when you take something away from a kid, as a coach you feel for him.”
Scifo was on pace to crack 1,000 career points during this his senior season, and recently committed to play baseball for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he’ll enroll next fall.
“We were just telling him feel better, we’ll win these games for him and do whatever we can to get into the tournament,” said Cole Peffer, who led Wilmington with 18 points in the . “Vin was a big scorer, so we need to put up big points to fill in for him all year in order to win.”
Peffer was a baseball teammate of Scifo's, as was senior Dalton Rolli, who said his classmate’s absence will be felt this spring.
“He’s one of those kids who you want on the field not just because of how great of a player he is, but also because of how great of a leader he is,” said Rolli. “He’s a great athlete, a great leader, and a great friend, so hopefully he can get back for college.”
Despite the season-ending injury, Scifo remained with the team during the Wildcats’ victory over Tewksbury, sporting a sling as he rooted for his teammates.
“He seems to be in good spirits and is helping the guys out, and that says a lot about him,” said Maiella. “Some kids would be down in the dumps. But he is a leader, and he is a winner. I was joking with him that when he’s in the major leagues some day, hopefully we’ll be able to look back and laugh about this injury.”