Mario Sgro

School: North Penn

Football, Basketball, Baseball



Favorite athlete: Kyrie Irving 

Favorite team: 76ers 

Favorite memory competing in sports: Hitting clutch shot in district playoff win over Coatesville

Most embarrassing/funniest moment competing in sports: Someone fell and rolled off of the court in a funny way

Music on playlist: Rap

Future plans: Go to college at West Chester or Montgomery County Community College. Also try to play college sports.

Words to live by: “Treat every day like there’s no tomorrow.”

One goal before turning 30: Have a million dollars

One thing people don’t know about me: My nickname “Moe” was giving to me by my 9u baseball coach and has stuck with me ever since.

By Craig Ostroff

North Penn senior Mario Sgro firmly believes that the way you perform on the basketball court reflects the way you live your life.

Do you look to your teammates to help make you better? When you make a mistake, are you aggressive on the boards in order to get another shot? Are you willing to do the little things that add up to success? And of course, when the game is on the line, are you calling for the ball or are you content to let a teammate take that shot?

“People say you play basketball the way you live your life, you can tell if somebody’s had it hard by how they play basketball,” Sgro said. “You can tell someone’s character on the court – if they run and hide when the score is tied or if they fight back.

“I like the big moment, all the pressure. That’s when everything’s at its best, when you really have to perform. That’s when everything really matters. I don’t think it’s anything you can teach or you can learn. Either you’re competitive or you’re not.”

It should come as no surprise that Sgro has been able to rise to the occasion in high-pressure situations numerous times throughout the Knights’ history-making season on the hardwood. His 4-for-4 shooting from the foul line down the stretch helped North Penn rally to a 53-47 win over Neshaminy in early January, snapping a North Penn losing streak and helping right the ship. In a late-January tilt against Souderton, Sgro scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Knights edged the Indians, 50-47.

And of course, with a state tournament berth on the line against Coatesville, Sgro keyed a last-minute North Penn rally with a jumper for two points, then hit both ends of a one-and-one after being fouled on the next Knight possession. The Knights would hold on for a 64-60 victory in the District One Class 6A second-round game.

“Moe has the knack where the bigger the moment, the more he loves to step up and make big plays,” said North Penn basketball coach John Conrad.

Sgro can be a vocal leader when needed – in fact, he said he’s tried to be more vocal in his role as a senior tri-captain – but also provides an ideal role model both in practice and during games, where he’s adept at making things happen both with and without the basketball.

“Moe’s always been a great worker in practice,” Conrad said. “He never takes practices or plays off. We usually pair up him and Norman Gee in practice, those two have similar mentalities, they don’t like to lose, and they get the best out of each other. And Moe’s not afraid if someone’s not pulling their weight, he’ll get after them. He’s not afraid to say to something.

“But he’s also the kind of player where he does not need the ball in his hands, but still finds a way to contribute. That’s huge and it’s a lost art. You’re out there for 32 minutes in a basketball game, the ball is rarely in your hands, so you’ve got to find other ways to contribute. He led the team in assists-to-turnover ratio, he always guards other team’s best guard. He rebounds well, he’s extremely unselfish, he’ll make the big pass or he’ll make the big shot. Just by watching him play, the other kids would benefit tremendously from that.”

For Sgro, it’s simply a matter of knowing and accepting his role. Not everyone can consistently score 20 points per game. But everyone can do their part to contribute to the team’s success.

“My key is usually making sure their best player doesn’t beat us,” Sgro said. “I score when I’m needed to, if anyone is having a drought, that’s when I’ll look to score or if its late in the game and something needs to happen, I have no problem making it happen.”

With Sgro and his fellow seniors leading the way, North Penn improved upon last season’s .500 record, posting a 14-10 overall record and finishing in second place in the Colonial Division at 8-4. As the sixth seed in the District One Class 6A Tournament, the Knights downed Coatesville to earn a spot in the PIAA Class 6A Tournament, where, as the eighth seed from District One, North Penn topped Central High School 64-52 to capture the first state tournament victory in the program’s history.

“It means everything to have been a part of this team,” Sgro said. “From the beginning of the year, we were expecting to be playing this long, we wanted our season to end in the middle of March and we got it.”

Even from his earliest days on the court for the Knights, Sgro showed the ability and maturity – not to mention the potential – to be a special player by the time his senior year came around.

“We always had an idea that he had it in him to be the kind of player he’s become,” Conrad said. “He won the starting job as a sophomore and he’s only 5-8 or so … his first start as a sophomore was against Plymouth Whitemarsh at PW, and he handled himself great. He walked out of that game and we all knew ‘Moe’s going to be alright after a game like that.’”

Knowing he’d need to elevate his game to help the Knights achieve their lofty basketball goals this season, Sgro tried a different offseason workout routine – football.

Having dropped football after middle school, Sgro decided to try out for the Knights’ football team to help him add some muscle and speed. What he didn’t expect was that he’d end up starting nearly every game this fall at wide receiver and defensive back for a Knights team that would finish 4-3 in the National Conference and earn the 14th seed in the PIAA Class 6A District One Tournament, where North Penn would pull off a stunning 22-21 upset over third seed Pennsbury in the first round.

“Going into high school, I stopped playing football. I thought I was too small, it got to my head, and I regretted it,” Sgro said. “That’s part of why I went back this year. I wanted to show everybody that I can play football also. But the main reason was to get stronger and maybe get a little speed and explosiveness for stealing bases, getting stronger to hit a few more home runs in baseball. Playing football forced me to lift weights and get stronger.

“I didn’t think I was going to play at all. I was hoping I’d get in here and there, but I ended up starting almost every game.”

Having now completed two athletic campaigns in his senior year, Sgro is looking forward to getting back on the baseball diamond for a Knights team that is determined to move forward and vastly improve on last season’s 8-11 overall record. Though Sgro missed the team’s spring training trip to Florida in order to continue the Knights’ historic basketball run, he expects to get back into baseball shape in no time.

North Penn baseball coach Kevin Manero has no concerns, either.

“While the long basketball playoff run did keep him from joining us in Florida this season, the trade-off is that he was getting used to winning and competing in a very high-pressure atmosphere of postseason play,” Manero said. “You can’t develop that in a batting cage. We’re excited to see that carry over onto the diamond.”

Being a three-sport athlete, Sgro also possesses a competitive fire that has keyed his development over the years and will undoubtedly let him hit the ground running once the Knights baseball season picks up.

“I remember watching Mario when he was a young kid playing for Nor-Gwyn, and it’s awesome to see him develop and grow as an athlete,” Manero said. “He is a fast, athletic kid who can do a lot of things on three separate playing surfaces. That’s a rare athlete these days.”

Sgro is still narrowing down his options for what happens once he trades in his batting helmet for a mortarboard and walks the halls of North Penn for the last time. He’s looking to study sports medicine in college in pursuit of a possible career as an athletic trainer. He’d like to play baseball in college, and is considering his opportunities at several local universities as well as junior colleges.

And once he’s gone from the athletic fields at North Penn, he hopes he’s left a little something behind for those following in his footsteps.

“I always tried my hardest all the time,” he said. “I was always trying to push everybody and really always tried to be a good teammate. I hope that’s how I’m remembered.”

“Every coach that’s met Moe, every teammate he’s had is glad to have met him,” Conrad said, “and they’re a better team for having Moe to be a part of it. That’s the type of kid and competitor he is.”