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01/31/2023 10:00 AM

Valley’s Sharp-Shooting Quinn Has Opposing Defenders Quivering

Junior Conor Quinn has become a steady hand and shot for the Valley Regional boys’ basketball team as its shooting guard, aiding the Warriors to a 7-8 record. Photo courtesy of Conor Quinn

When Conor Quinn decided he needed a change of pace with his sport of choice, he picked a more sped-up game. And it has proven to be the right choice, as he is well on the fast track to being a sharpshooter for the Valley Regional boys’ basketball team–serving as a crucial part of the Warriors’ midseason resurgence.

The junior shooting guard grew up playing both baseball and basketball until 6th grade. That year, he dropped the former to focus more on the latter. As he additionally played travel and AAU hoops, Conor arrived on the Valley campus as a freshman on a deep and stacked roster. Yet he worked hard his first two seasons to provide a pivotal bench role this winter for the Warriors, helping Valley notch an overall team record of 7-8.

“I found that baseball was just too slow for me,” says Conor on his decision to stick with the hardwood over the diamond. “After playing travel and AAU basketball, I liked how basketball was more fast-paced over baseball, and I found out I was better at it than baseball.”

When he reflects on his progress within the game of basketball throughout his multiple years in the lanes, Conor attributes his solo success to time in the gym, in addition to getting in reps around the hoop wherever he can.

“A lot of my success comes from training in the offseason,” Conor says. “I keep going to the YMCA with the team, plus shooting around in the park. I just want to keep getting better.”

As he has developed himself into a well-rounded baller, Conor declares that he has refined his skill as a sharp sniper from a distance. While fighting through some of the bigs in the Shoreline Conference, Conor steadies himself as a deep-ball threat for Valley.

“I am primarily a shooting guard now. My favorite part of playing it is making the three-point shots. One of the tougher parts of it is being small, which makes it harder to be a guard,” says Conor. “My shot has gotten better over the years. I just keep trying to get better every day, and I think I have improved my shot, defense, and ball handling.”

The Warriors had quite a skid out of the gates to start this current campaign, as they dropped five of their first six contests of the slate. Yet they have rebounded very nicely after changing the malaise and corralled some winning momentum.

“The turnaround had a lot to do with what happened in practice,” says Conor. “We focused on trying to have better practices because we were having low-energy practices at the start of the year. We were tired of losing. We just keep getting better every day, work our hardest, and try not to lose.”

When Conor came into the Valley Regional gym as a freshman, he entered the fold with a very competitive pool of student-athletes. Still, it just shined a light on him that he had to dig that much deeper and harder to achieve the slot he desired.

“In my freshman year, we had 20 kids on the team, so it was tough to get minutes,” Conor says. “For my sophomore year, I knew I had to work hard to get varsity minutes. Just like with anything in life, I learned you have to work hard.”

As he has had the chance to pick the brains and learn from a plethora of near-perfect coaches and teammates, Conor has cultivated some sound life lessons about sticktoitiveness and dedication and the wonderful results they can yield.

“I have learned that you just have to work hard and never give up,” says Conor. “You have to show up every day and work your hardest. Woods and [assistant coach] Lou Rolston keep telling me to shoot whenever I am open, and then [senior teammate] DiAngelo Jean-Pierre keeps teaching me stuff as well.”

Head Coach Kevin Woods praises Conor for his ability to recognize his role while providing the right emotional lift as a spiritual spark for the Warriors.

“Conor has come a long way in a short period of time this year. He started the year off as a JV player who played a couple of spot minutes, to one of the best sixth men in the Shoreline Conference,” says Woods. “He embraces his role as a spark plug and scorer off the bench. He was clutch and hit some monster shots in our recent comeback win against Hale-Ray. He is definitely a fan favorite, and you can feel the energy in the gym when he gets in the game. I can’t wait to see how much farther he can bring his game and have an impact on this team’s success.”

Conor’s motto carries over to the classroom, with him striving to be in the upper tier of the grading column. Yet keeping his focus on the court, he would love to be a major part of the Warriors hoisting yet another Shoreline Conference Tournament title trophy.

“Next year, as a senior, I want to see us win Shorelines,” Conor says. “Academically, I am striving for As and Bs. I just want to be good again next year.”