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QV's Leading Quaker
By Paul Paterra

A young Quaker Valley High School basketball team entered WPIAL play this season, but it was still one with high expectations.

Sure, a good nucleus of players from last year's team that advanced to the PIAA championship game were gone, but a key ingredient to last year's machine was back.

That would be senior guard Justin Shegog, who just happens to be the school's all-time leading scorer.

Shegog has been an integral member of the Quakers' basketball program since he first stepped into the high school. He has started since he was a freshman.

In those days, he was more of a stand-still jump shooter and that's still his main weapon. However, there a lot more to Shegog' game now.

"As he's gotten older, it's really matured him," said Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni about Shegog. "He's able to score a number of different ways now. He's much stronger off the dribble. He's very strong because of his build, so he's real powerful on his drives. He's able to post up now. He does a little bit of everything for us. He's worked on his ball-handling and scores more in transition for us now."

Mastroianni saw a basketball talent in Shegog (6-3, 210), when the player was just a freshman. He knew that this was a player that was special and one he had to insert into the lineup right away.

"His game instincts, his understanding of the game and his court awareness were well beyond his years," Mastroianni explained. "His instincts as a freshman were as good as any high school player."

In those four years, Shegog has become the Quakers' all-time leading scorer. Shegog currently has 1,867 points and is on pace to become just the 13th player in WPIAL history to score 2000 points for his career.

Shegog surpassed Jeff Gaca, a 1989 graduate of Quaker Valley, who eventually player at Cornell University and surpassed the 1,000-point plateau in college.

"It's an honor," Shegog admitted about the school record. "Anytime you get a record, it goes down in history. I'm proud of myself for that."

Shegog was second on the team in scoring as a freshman and topped the Quakers' scoring lists every year since. In ninth grade, Shegog averaged around 13 points a game, as a sophomore he tallied 18.5 points a contest and last year he scored just under 20 points a game.

This season, Shegog is checking in with 23.1 points a game, which was the ninth-best total in the WPIAL going into last weekend's games.

Shegog does hope to someday play at the collegiate level. The University of Massachusetts and Providence have expressed interest in him.

"There's a few schools looking, but we'll probably have to wait until after the season to decide," Shegog said

As with most good players, Shegog's goals for the season are team-oriented. He got the taste of going to Hershey and playing for a state title and wouldn't mind seeing his team reach similar - if not better - heights this season.

"We have three main goals," to win our section, get to the WPIAL championship game and get back to the state championship game. I think they can be reached," Shegog said.

Shegog and Chris Iorio, a 6-1 senior and fellow four-year starter - are the only returning starters from last season's Quakers. However, players like that give Mastroianni a lot of confidence about this year's team, which takes an 11-4 record into this week and tops Section 4-AA with a 6-0 mark.

"It gives them the sense we can step on the floor and almost play with anybody," Mastroianni. "We had to put some new guys into the mix and with injuries we've played some younger guys sooner than expected. Justin's been the consistent force through the first month of the season."

Shegog likes what he sees from this team. "I think all the preseason stuff that was out psyched some of the younger guys out and got them thinking that we were better than we are," Shegog explained. "Now everything's starting to click and we're starting to become the team everyone thought we would be. I think we're on track now."

As for Shegog, he seems to have been on track at Quaker Valley for four years.