New Quaker Valley hall of famer Justin Shegog raised basketball program’s profile

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Sunday, September 17, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Justin Shegog was a mover and a shaker in the gym as well as for the entire Quaker Valley boys basketball program.

Athletic director Mike Mastroianni, who doubles as the coach for the QV boys hoops team, coached Shegog from 1996-2000.

Mastroianni said Shegog laid the foundation for success for the Quakers in the new millennium.

“We have been fortunate to have so many outstanding Quaker Valley basketball players over the years,” Mastroianni said, “and prior to Justin, we had strong individual teams with great seasons. But Justin’s four-year career established us as a program.

“Justin’s four-year contribution will always be connected with establishing Quaker Valley basketball as a (formidable) program not only in the WPIAL but across the state.”

A 6-foot-3 shooting guard in high school, Shegog was four-year starter, three-time all-state and four-time all-section selection. He was lauded as the Class AA Player of the Year in boys basketball in 1999.

Shegog led the Quakers to three section championships and their first WPIAL title in 1997, as well as to their first appearance in the state finals in 1999.

He finished with 1,965 career points and remains QV’s all-time leading scorer in basketball. As a sophomore, Shegog connected for a career-high 37 points in an 89-43 win against Fort Cherry.

“Justin was an outstanding talent and from his first game as a freshman, he was physically and mentally able to perform at an extremely high level,” Mastroianni said. “It is rare that freshmen play (at the varsity level), let alone contribute to a WPIAL championship team like he did.”

Thanks to his contributions to QV basketball along with his unsurpassed scoring touch, Shegog has been voted into the Quaker Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

He will be inducted on the weekend of Oct. 13-14, and the 2023 class will be recognized Oct. 13 at the Quakers’ home football game against West Mifflin.

A banquet will be held in honor of the inductees at 11 a.m. Oct. 14 at Edgeworth Club. For ticket information, email Christina Johns at johnsc@qvsd.org.

“I was very excited and very humbled to find out I was being inducted into the Quaker Valley Sports Hall of Fame,” Shegog said. “It’s an honor to be selected with the other great athletes.”

His former coach couldn’t be more ecstatic.

“I am excited and happy for Justin,” Mastroianni said, “and value our connection and relationship through the years. I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to coach him.

“Justin brought a level approach and a steady demeanor. Even as a young player, the moment was never too big for Justin to handle. He combined these skills with a competitiveness and an understanding of how to win.”

Shegog is regarded as one of the best players ever to wear a Quaker Valley basketball jersey. He averaged 18 points per game in 109 career games.

Shegog accounted for 403 points as a freshman, 485 as a sophomore, 649 as a junior and 428 as a senior.

“My best memories from high school would be winning the WPIAL AA championship in 1997 and our state-championship run in 1999 although we lost in double overtime (to District 3’s Annville-Cleona, 69-57, in the PIAA finals),” Shegog said. “Both years were the school’s first and only championship-game appearances at that time. Both groups of guys were great, and we had fun times and memories that will last a lifetime.

“The 1999 group was extra special. We all played together since we were in fifth and sixth grade, so we knew in high school we’d be special. It all started with the basketball wizard, my guy, coach Mastroianni. You have to mention his name with other coaching legends like Blackhawk’s John Miller, Mark Jula at North Allegheny and Butler, John Sarandrea and Ralph Blundo at New Castle and Don Graham at North Catholic. When it comes to game-planning and strategy, there’s nobody better than coach Mastroianni. He has a great basketball mind.”

The Quakers’ starting lineup in 1998-99 consisted of Shegog and point guard Justin Hughes in the backcourt, forwards Doug Runyan and Ben Greene and center Chris Iorio. Other leading contributors included Drew Binder, Steve Sweeney, Jason Kastrounis and John Martin.

The starters in 1996-97 were Shegog, point guard Scott Molitor, guard Andy Wormsley, Iorio at center and Runyan at forward. Hughes and Greene also were key players.

While Shegog was a prolific scorer and trend-setter for the Quakers, it took a lot of time and hard work to achieve his unique all-around basketball aptitude.

“Growing up, I was just totally obsessed with basketball and was lucky enough to see WPIAL legends play in high school, guys like Danny Fortson, Tommy Pipkins and Monty Latimer,” Shegog said. “And back in those days, they played pickup games at North Park. I just wanted to be good like they were, so I worked on my game each and every day.”

Following his brilliant career at QV, Shegog briefly attended Saint Thomas Moore, a prep school in Oakdale, Conn., in 2000-01.

“Things did not work out (at Saint Thomas Moore) due to poor choices and decisions made by me,” Shegog said, “which recently inspired me to start looking into the possibilities of starting a business where I speak to athletes around the country about making smart choices and decisions.

“Having the right mentality to help you achieve success at the end of the day is everything.”

Shegog, now 41, lives in Cranberry Township where he works as an independent CDL truck driver. He said he loves to travel.

He has two children, Mia, age 15, and Justin Jr., who is 13 and a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball. Both teens attend Freedom.

Shegog has many fond memories from playing basketball at Quaker Valley with his friends. His second-highest career single-game production was a 34-point performance as a freshman in the WPIAL quarterfinal round against Shenango in 1996-97.

“We actually trailed by 24 at halftime,” Shegog said, “but we ultimately came back to win 60-59. They called it the ‘Miracle Comeback.’

“We’d go on to defeat Aliquippa, the No. 1-ranked team in the state, in the WPIAL semifinals en route to beating New Brighton, 57-49, in the WPIAL championship game.”

Shegog said it is an honor to hold the record as the school’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, a mark that has withstood the test of time for 22 seasons.

“I really enjoyed my basketball days at Quaker Valley,” he said. “Being the school’s all-time leading scorer is cool, but the relationships and memories with the guys are what stand out the most to me.

“I cherish that I had great teammates and coaches and, believe me, some of those bus rides back to the school after big playoff wins were absolutely legendary and super cool memories.”

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