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Girls basketball Athlete of the Year

Quinn always in the right place for Red Raiders

Kaiserslautern's Johanna Quinn fights most of the Vilseck team for a rebound at the DODDS-Europe Basketball Championships last month. Quinn has been named the Stars and Stripes girls basketball Athlete of the Year.

Kaiserslautern junior Johanna Quinn is the consummate teammate, the type of unrelenting hustle player that does all the winning things that might go unnoticed by the casual fan. By her own admission, she won’t be found running the point on fast breaks or raining three-pointers.

Such a player might be sentenced to toil in obscurity, finding glory only in the team success she helped create.

But Quinn performs the game’s underrated chores so well that she’s no longer underrated. She was a second-team All-Europe selection in 2011-12, and was named outstanding player as the Red Raiders won the DODDS-Europe Division I basketball tournament in February.

Quinn is also the 2012-13 Stars and Stripes girls basketball Athlete of the Year.

That’s a lot of acclaim for a player who struggles to see herself as anything but a facilitator of team achievements. She marvels at the collective talent of her Red Raider teammates and thinks back to the preseason, where she thought she might be a “safety forward” providing spot minutes off the bench. It’s a role she was thankful to have and excited to fulfill.

The idea that she is the best player on her team, let alone the best in DODDS-Europe, seems to fill Quinn with genuine bewilderment.

“I couldn’t care less if I had two or 20 points per game,” Quinn said. “As long as the team played well together and I did my role, I’m happy.”

Quinn’s teams invariably do play well together, and tend to win championships more often than not.

It’s not a coincidence.

Quinn won her first DODDS-Europe championship as a Patch freshman in 2010-11; as a sophomore she helped the Panthers to a third-place Division I finish. She transferred to Kaiserslautern prior to the 2012-13 season; a few months later, Quinn was celebrating a second European title with her new team after a tense comeback win over Wiesbaden.

Along the way, Quinn steadily earned the trust of her new coach. Kaiserslautern’s Corey Sullivan had admired Quinn’s gritty game since her debut at Patch, and was thrilled to add her to his roster.

“She’s a natural leader,” Sullivan said. “She’s got a wonderful attitude about everything. Always smiling, always giving her best effort.”

The 5-foot-10 post player produced healthy but unremarkable averages of 7.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game over the course of the regular season as she carved out minutes in a deep frontcourt rotation shared with standouts Alana Dickerson and Angie Powell.

Quinn’s role increased in the postseason, and the numbers followed suit, swelling to 10.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to fuel a crucial 50-45 pool-play win over Lakenheath. She accounted for nine of Kaiserslautern’s 28 points in a semifinal win over Patch.

In the championship game, Quinn collected 14 rebounds, eight of them offensive, and added eight points and two steals as the Red Raiders shook off a scoreless third quarter, outscored host Wiesbaden 17-5 in the fourth and erased a double-digit deficit for a 30-28 title-clinching victory.

“I put girls in specifically to keep her off the boards, and she still got around them,” Warriors coach Jim Campbell recalled. “She doesn’t do anything flashy, she’s just a hard worker and she’s always there.”

That’s a fitting phrase for Quinn’s signature basketball style. Whether in the fierce scrum for a rebound or the giddy pile-up of a championship celebration, Quinn is almost always there.

broome.gregory@stripes.com

Twitter: @broomestripes

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