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Mundelein Saturday, 1/5/13 Carmel's Kayla Quinn (52) tries to get past Fenwick's Kendall Boardman (35) during the second quarter of Saturday's game. Fenwick won the game, 66-62. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Carmel’s Kayla Quinn knew her time would come.
Playing behind Sarah McHugh and Kaitlyn Lynch as a junior on the girls basketball team last season, Quinn saw limited minutes for the Corsairs’ Class 3A regional championship team. With McHugh and Lynch graduating, Quinn figured to be Carmel’s primary post presence as a senior.
Her level of preparedness would determine how much she enjoyed the experience.
“It made me want to win that much more,” Quinn said. “And close my Carmel years really nicely.”
Quinn knew she had to get in better shape if she was going to play 20 minutes a game. She worked out at the YMCA in Lake Zurich, lifting weights and running. When the summer came, Quinn augmented league play with the Corsairs with driveway hoops at home.
Older sister Erin, a 5-foot-8 sophomore point guard for Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., was home for the summer. The sisters would drill in front of the family home in Island Lake for hours.
The workouts were no picnic.
“They were intense,” said 6-1 Kayla Quinn. “I’d work on my post moves, we would rebound for each other. I’d work on dribbling and free throws. She’s a point guard so we did a lot of those drills.
“This year my shot has been way better than in the past.”
Results began to show this season during the Warren Blue Devil Holiday Tournament. Quinn was named to the all-tournament team, along with senior guard Claire Ogrinc. Carmel finished in first place, winning four games. In the team’s tournament-clinching win over host Warren Dec. 28, Quinn had 12 points and nine rebounds.
In Carmel’s first game of 2013, against Top 20-ranked Fenwick, Quinn was a dominating inside presence while also showing a burst in transition. She scored eight second-quarter points, mostly in the low post. But in the third quarter, Quinn raced down the court on back-to-back Corsair possessions, finishing fast breaks. In one game, Quinn showed that those hard summer workouts in the driveway were paying off.
“She’s in better shape physically, more assertive on offense and defense,” Carmel coach Kelly Perz said. “I think it’s another year of maturity that she’s kind of finally figured it out.”
Added junior guard Nicole Bitter: “Kayla is one of the tallest (players) out there. It’s a huge help to us. She seals the girls behind her. She’s nailed her shot with those post moves. They’ve gotten really good this year.”
A year that Quinn hopes will be a catalyst for next season. The success she’s had as a senior is stimulating her love for basketball. Quinn is getting interest from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and downstate Monmouth College.
But first, Quinn has a senior year to finish. After that is summer, and more basketball drilling in the driveway with Erin.
“We push and shove a little bit but it never gets too far,” Kayla Quinn said. “She’s got the speed, I’ve got the size. It’s perfect.”