Quaker Valley’s Hughes notches another victory with hall of fame induction
By: Joe Sager
Friday, July 19, 2019 | 7:20 PM
Justin Hughes knows how to win.
So, it’s no coincidence his teams racked up victories on the basketball court as well during his time at Quaker Valley — and beyond. He will get another honor when he is inducted into the Quaker Valley Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 29 at a ceremony at Sewickley Heights Golf Club.
“It is such a nice honor. I was surprised when I got the call,” he said. “I’d like to thank my parents, Sheila Camm and Bruce Hughes. They drove me around everywhere and allowed me to dribble the basketball all through the house. I never heard one complaint from them when dealing with sports.”
Hughes, a 1999 Quaker Valley graduate, was a standout point guard for the Quakers. The three-year starter helped guide the Quakers to a WPIAL Class 2A title in 1997.
“Winning the WPIAL title in ’97 was great. Andy Wormsley and Scott Molitor were the leaders of the team, but we had a lot of young guys, too. We weren’t supposed to win that year, but we did,” he said. “After putting in work every day together, all the summer leagues we had done together and all the practices, winning was such a great feeling. It’s something you remember for the rest of your life.”
The Quakers lost to Cambridge Springs in the second round of the PIAA playoffs, but they returned a majority of their players for the next season – and expectations were high. However, the Quakers lost to Shady Side Academy in the WPIAL quarterfinals. Their season ended with a loss to George Junior Republic in the PIAA first round.
“We brought five of our top seven players back, and we were supposed to have a good year, but what we wanted and what we got didn’t match up,” Hughes said. “Getting beat in the first round of states made us work harder to get back to the state championship game the next year.”
In 1999, Quaker Valley reached the WPIAL semifinals, but lost to Shady Side Academy. The Quakers rebounded in the PIAA tournament to beat Union City, Aliquippa, Farrell and Windber to reach the state championship game. They lost to Annville-Cleona in double overtime.
“Getting to the state championship was great,” he said. “We were thinking we had the win, but lost in double overtime.”
Hughes was named the Quakers’ team MVP and was an all-section selection his senior year.
“It was great to get some recognition, but I’ve always been more about winning and my team than any individual recognition. I played with a lot of great players,” he said. “I was more about taking on a leadership role as a point guard. If I didn’t have any points or didn’t have a great game and we won, I was still happy. I didn’t care if I had to score or not.”
After graduating from Quaker Valley, Hughes went to Rochester and was a four-year letterwinner in that successful basketball program. He helped the Yellowjackets reach the NCAA Division III semifinals his junior year and the quarterfinals the next season.
“College was great. I player under another great coach there and made a lot of lifelong friends,” he said. “The seasons were long. You put in a lot of work. Those were fun years. All you had to do, really, was play basketball and study. We played in an extremely competitive conference, and it was definitely great to experience a Final Four in Salem, Virginia.”
Quaker Valley basketball coach Mike Mastroianni was not surprised to see Hughes continue his success in college.
“He was an outstanding contributor for us at a young age, and he was very confident as a young guy. He played extremely hard and never looked like he was out of place. As he got older, the leadership duties fell on him, and he was very ready for that. He was beyond his years,” he said. “When he graduated from Rochester, that made it eight straight years of playing on a basketball team that averaged over 20 wins, which is extremely hard to do, especially in college. He was on teams that won over 160 games in his career. I think that speaks about who he was. He was just a winner. He could get points, if needed. He ran the team and did all the right stuff at all the right times.”
Hughes, who works in sales, lives in Baltimore. He and his wife, Sarah, have two girls, Libby and Annie. He felt fortunate to come up through Quaker Valley’s program just after Mastroianni arrived as head coach.
“That was when he was just starting out at Quaker Valley and he really ran it like a college program. That was a big thing,” he said. “He was always at the elementary school and junior high games – just being a presence. He started an actual program and now everyone has seen what it’s grown into.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.
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