The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 10, 2013

Hughes signs to play basketball with Crowder

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Crowder College coach Tina Robbins began replenishing the Lady ’Riders’ basketball roster on Tuesday by securing the signature of Purdy High School’s Katie Hughes.

Robbins and assistant Melanie Bowers attended the signing ceremony.

The 6-foot-1 Hughes, as a senior, received all-league honors in helping Class 2 Purdy, in its first season under Eli Ernst, finish 15-14 overall and runner-up at 4-1 to unbeaten Southwest in the Ozark 7 Conference.

Said Robbins: “She’s long and athletic. She has a good touch on her shot. She rebounds and is a shot blocker. She’ll fit into our style of play.

“Now,” Robbins added with a laugh, “don’t ask about her playing time next season. Right now, that’s hard to project. We’ll have a lot of new players next season.”

Said Ernst: “Katie has a ton of upside. I believe she played only two years of high school ball. She has a great shooting stroke and a tremendous mid-range game.”

Ernst said Hughes averaged nearly 10 points and six rebounds as a senior. She blocked 171 shots in the two seasons.

Katie, the daughter of Leah Williams and Billy Hughes, said she was able to watch Crowder play five games this season.

Crowder, 29-6, went 1-1 in the NJCAA Division I Championship at Salina, Kan.

“Crowder College, of course, is close. It’s only about a 45-minute drive,” Hughes said.

“But, more than that, I liked the program,” she said. “I liked the coaches. I liked the players I was able to meet.”

Hughes, who said her mom might be 6-2 in her sneakers, plans to major in general studies with the goal of criminal justice.

And, yes, mom (formerly Nance) played basketball at St. Paul (Ark.) High School.

“I need to work on rebounding and handling the ball,” Katie Hughes said. “Coach Robbins gave us a workout plan for the summer. I may do most of my shooting with the high school players (sister Kat is a sophomore on the team).”