A-K Valley athletes of the week: Burrell’s Anna Clark, Springdale’s John Hughes

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Saturday, December 23, 2023 | 3:23 PM


Anna Clark

Class: Junior

School: Burrell

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Burrell’s girls basketball team is off to a 6-0 start and won its Section 3-3A opener Wednesday. Clark had 18 points in the 37-35 victory over Mt. Pleasant. The junior guard also scored 13 points in Monday’s nonsection win over Obama Academy. She also had a double-double Dec. 16 with 12 points and 14 rebounds in a 37-17 win over Yough.

How did the team play against Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday?

I think we played very, very hard. It was a challenging game. They are a very good team. My team came back from a hard fight, and we did get the victory at the end.

What has been the key to the team’s 6-0 start?

Our defense and just us playing as a team together, sharing the ball. We did really focus on sharing the ball and working as a team (in the preseason). Having that is nice to play this sport with this team.

What are the team’s goals this season?

Our goal is to get in the playoffs and keep winning. We’re getting there step by step. We’re very excited.

You had 14 rebounds against Yough. Do you usually gather a lot of rebounds as a guard?

I usually have a lot of rebounds. I love playing defense. I’m more of an aggressive player. I crash the board a lot to get rebounds. It’s just something I always did when I was younger.

How did you get started playing basketball?

My dad (Doug Clark). He was a coach and player.

Are you involved in any other activities at Burrell?

I play tennis for Burrell and also am in student government.

Do you guys listen to any pre-game music?

We listen to Nicki Minaj’s new album, “Pink Friday,” especially the song, “Everybody.”

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Probably the animated “Grinch.”

Do you have a favorite Christmas song?

“Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley.

What is on your Christmas wish list?

Probably just some new clothes. I don’t have a lot on my Christmas wish list.

What’s something people might not know about you?

I’m a really, really good cook. I like to make chicken and rice with this soy sauce mixture with brown sugar. I just had it, and it was really good.

John Hughes

Class: Senior

School: Springdale

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Springdale (7-1, 0-1) bounced back from a 69-56 loss to Clairton in the Section 3-2A opener Dec. 15 with three straight nonsection wins this week. Hughes had 17 points in an 82-45 win over California on Monday, tallied 25 points in a 74-42 victory over Cornell on Tuesday and poured in 27 points, including four 3-pointers, in a 78-62 triumph over Cheswick Christian Academy on Thursday. Hughes also was the Valley News Dispatch baseball player of the year last spring after he hit .649 and had a 2.08 ERA on the mound.

How did the team play against Cheswick Christian on Thursday?

We played real good. We were up by 20 most of the game. We started off a little slow. We worked it back in the second half.

What are some things the team is doing well at this point in the season?

Our defense is great. Teams aren’t scoring many points against us. We need to work on our offense a little more. I’m excited for these section games after Christmas.

What made the difference in the loss to Clairton last week?

They just played fast, and we didn’t expect that. We weren’t ready for that. We play them again Jan. 19 at home.

What are the team’s goals this season?

We just want to make a deep playoff run. We played in the playoffs (my sophomore year). We had a first-round exit.

What will it take to advance in the playoffs?

If we work together as a team, we’ll be good. We’ve played together since freshman year. We have good chemistry. We’ll make a deep run if we work together.

How did you get started playing basketball?

I used to go to St. Irenaeus in Oakmont. I started playing in third grade. There wasn’t many kids in my school so I played up. Then I moved schools to St. Joe’s and played there from fourth to eighth grade. I started playing my freshman year under (Aaron) Epps and then we had a coaching change, and I started playing for Kobe (Phillippi). He’s a great coach.

Have you made any plans for next fall?

I’m going to Allegheny to play baseball and major in business administration.

Why did you decide on Allegheny?

They came after me the most. I like the campus a lot. It’s a good place. It’s a small town. I like it. I visited there a couple times. I’ll be pitching and playing outfield.

How does basketball training help with baseball?

Conditioning a thousand percent. It helps a bunch. I usually lose a lot of weight during basketball season, but I always put it back on. I definitely have way better conditioning. I can run longer. I feel stronger after basketball season. I still work out during basketball season so I’m not weak.

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

“Elf.”

What is on your Christmas wish list?

A new bat.

What’s something people might not know about you?

I used to play soccer when I was younger. I was terrible.

Bill Hartlep is the TribLive sports editor. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park graduate, he joined the Trib in 2004, covering high school sports. He held various editing roles before assuming his current position in 2019. He can be reached at bhartlep@triblive.com.

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