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She's a Quinn-tessential Leader


Richard Wiard walked off the court and you didn't even have to ask him the question.

"She's a pro," said the girls' basketball coach of La Puente Bishop Amat High. "She's a pro."

"She" is Noelle Quinn, who had just dismantled Wiard's team as she had done so many others, putting on a show of style and grace, a dash of flash and ending the day with a win and a smile.

The 4.5 grade-point average, the 21.8 scoring average, the three consecutive state Division III titles in her three years at Torrance Bishop Montgomery are a testament to Quinn's focus, skills and leadership, and she is The Times' girls' basketball player of the year.

Humility? "It is surprising," she said of the announcement, "because there are so many good players in Division I."

Leadership? "It's not all about scoring, but about everything else

Talent? "She single-handedly raised that team three or four notches," said Brea Olinda Coach Jeff Sink. "From the free-throw line in, she's unstoppable. She's the prototype of what you're looking for."

A 6-foot junior guard who can also play forward, Quinn is quick, a terrific jumper with a nice touch who could fit easily into any team, but her coach, Lisa Cooper, is thankful it's Bishop Montgomery's.

"The most impressive thing is that she's multi-talented and can play more than one position," Cooper said. "Her desire to play is outstanding; you can see it on the court, in her face, in her effort."

That effort yielded averages of 11.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists, as well as 66.4% shooting from inside the three-point arc, 66.7% from beyond (10 of 15).

In her last five games--the Southern Section Division III-A final, three state regional games and the state championship--Quinn's points (23.2), rebounds (13.2), assists (5.4) and blocks (2.4) increased, and her steals (3.6 to 3.8) were nearly identical.

But for as talented as Quinn is on a basketball court, Cooper said, "I like her personality best." "She's a team player, very humble," Cooper said. "That only makes us better. She makes all the other players step up and play to their potential. I think they all have benefited, but Nykia [Peace] has benefited most because she's following Nicole's footsteps, learning about her leadership and how to control the game."

Peace, a sophomore, is Bishop Montgomery's star of the future. There is no doubt, though, who is the star of the present.

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