Quinn Excelling for Franklin High’s Basketball SquadJan 29, 2021 02:36PM ● By Ken Hamway
Despite a cancellation of MIAA state title games, top Franklin basketball player, Junior Olivia Quinn, said, “There was more to be proud about than to be disappointed about.”
Olivia Quinn has all the attributes needed to finish her career at Franklin High as one of the best basketball players in the program’s history.
John Leighton, the Panthers’ veteran coach who utilized the guard-forward as the first player off the bench during her freshman season, isn’t bashful when listing her assets. “Olivia is motivated and driven,’’ he said. “Her basketball IQ is very high, she’s athletic, skilled, instinctive and keeps improving. She scores and rebounds, but she’s also solid on defense.’’
Consider her numbers that have contributed to Franklin’s success. As a freshman, the Franklin native scored 100 points and became the Panthers’ key reserve. Last year, as a sophomore, the 6-foot swingman scored 381 points, an average of 16.8 point a game, and her 142 rebounds gave her an average of seven a game. She shot 53 percent from the floor, 36 percent from the three-point arc, and 77 percent at the free-thrown line.
A Hockomock League all-star as a sophomore, she’s been part of five championship teams in her first two campaigns — two league crowns, two sectional titles and one state championship. Quinn is also an all-star in the classroom as a high-honors student.
A team-first competitor, Quinn is quick to list last year’s state title as her top thrill in basketball. The crown, however, was shared with Andover because the state final game was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We finished unbeaten at 26-0 after defeating Minnechaug in the state semifinal,’’ she noted. “There was disappointment when the MIAA called off all the state title games. I was crushed, but as time passed, I felt grateful about what we had achieved. There was more to be proud about than to be disappointed about. We were a close-knit group and to win a state title was an amazing feeling. In the end, I do believe the MIAA acted with the health and safety of everyone in mind.’’
The 17-year-old Quinn has had a variety of top-notch games but her effort at Oliver Ames last year stands out. Both teams were unbeaten, but as the game concluded, the Panthers had a 20-point victory.
“I scored 31 points and was five of six shooting threes,’’ she recalled. “My defense was good, and I had four offensive put-backs for eight points. The atmosphere for that game was exciting.’’
The 2020-21 season won’t feature any sectional or state playoff games and schedules have been decreased because of covid-19. Quinn, however, has been dynamic. Averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds a game and helping the Panthers post a 2-0 record at Local Town Pages deadline, she’s delighted the MIAA allowed competition during the pandemic.
“I’m just happy to compete and to play with the modifications that were made,’’ Quinn emphasized. “Our sport really didn’t change much. Any games are better than no games, and it’s been great to share good times with teammates.’’
One teammate Quinn enjoys competing with is senior point guard Erin Quaile, who led the Panthers’ offense last year. “Erin has a motor that just keeps going,’’ she said. “Winner of the Hockomock League’s defensive player of the year award the last two years, Erin takes pride in her defense — a great on-ball defender. She also can pass and knows how to break a press.’’
As this season heads for the finish line, Quinn’s goals remain firm. She’d like the team to have another undefeated season and finish with the Kelly-Rex Division title. “For personal goals, I’d like to improve my free-throw percentage, increase my assists, be a play-maker and maintain a defensive mindset,’’ she said.
If her individual objectives are reached, Quinn no doubt will continue to draw interest from recruiters. During her sophomore season, Stonehill College and the University of New Hampshire contacted her. “I want to play college basketball, and to get to that level, it’ll require a solid foundation on defense,’’ she noted. “At the collegiate level, everyone is a former high school all-star.’’
Quinn’s competitive philosophy puts a high priority on winning, but she also focuses on reaching her potential and having fun. “My prime goal is to win,’’ she said, “but reaching my potential and having fun are also important.’’
A major plus in Quinn’s development can be attributed to Leighton. She admires the way her coach has built Franklin’s program. “Coach Leighton is a terrific motivator,’’ she emphasized. “He knows the game, has lots of experience and sets expectations high for all his players. He’s elevated our program, and I’m glad to be playing for Franklin. The standards are high.’’
Calling her mother (Karin) her role model, Quinn says she’s been supportive and encouraging every step of the way. The journey has included six years of AAU basketball that’s enabled Quinn to sharpen her technique, skills, and instincts.
“I want to work on being assertive and improve my communication on the court,’’ Quinn said. “Being vocal is also a plus. And, there’s always room for improving on defense.’’
Quinn can play a variety of positions but she prefers the wing where she can shoot and drive. “I also like it when a teammate drives to the hoop then passes to me behind the three-point arc,’’ she said. “The three-pointer is my favorite shot.’’
Establishing herself as a key reserve as a freshman was huge, because Quinn was the only frosh player on the varsity. As a soph, she adjusted quickly, added the three-pointer to her assortment and became comfortable and confident.
Now, Quinn is wrapping up her junior season that’s been altered by Covid-19. She’s adjusted well to the changes and modifications, and there’s little doubt that her senior year will be dynamic, successful and rewarding.
Olivia Quinn is indeed a triple threat. She excels in sports, is top-notch in the classroom, and she handles adversity with class and dignity.