H-K Girls’ Hoops Building Shoreline Success Brick by Brick This Year
The Haddam-Killingworth girls’ basketball team is quite literal when it comes to its philosophy for the season, with growing and building a fruitful foundation for success by working with actual bricks in practice. The Cougars are ready to lay down a competitive club daily and be a concrete solid squad as an upstart within the Shoreline Conference.
Last winter, Head Coach Ann Deibert and the Cougars finished the regular season with a record of six wins and 14 losses, which qualified them for the Class M State Tournament. In that postseason draw, H-K drew the No. 28 seed and took a 52-34 defeat to Shoreline Conference rival and eventual state semifinalist Valley Regional in the first round to finish 6-15 overall once the dust settled on the season.
Deibert denoted that H-K is keeping its goals for this campaign very simplistic in fighting to the finish every day, whether a game or practice, and consistently winning a game of one-upmanship within the Cougars themselves.
“Our one work for this season is compete,” said Deibert. “We want to compete hard in everything we do. The mindset of growth will help us go far. We say that we are building a foundation here. We even utilize bricks in practice.”
Three seniors will guide the Cougars through their 20-game slate. Julia Favalora, who will run the point as a guard, and a team utility player in Audra Yazmer, return for their second stints as captains. They will be joined by classmate Kaleigh Bodak along the interior.
“Kaleigh is a four-year starter. She is a lefty post player. She is a coach’s dream with her work ethic and positivity,” Coach Deibert said. “Julia is a veteran point guard for three years. She is super smart with the ball and has learned how to pace the game. Audra is one of the most versatile players I have had; whatever we need her to do she does. She has great height and length and has the ability to get to the basket.”
Joining them is an eclectic tandem from within the underclass in junior Cheyenne LaTouche at center and freshman Payton Rich, who will also bring the ball up the floor as a point guard. Deibert praised both young and electric Cougars for their abilities to light up watching eyes and the stat book.
“Cheyenne has dominated her positions. She had 21 rebounds in a game last year. She gives us agility at the center position,” Deibert said. “Payton is so explosive; I cannot wait to see her in action this year.”
Within an always deep and competitive Shoreline Conference, Deibert and H-K are ready to see how they stack up against the usual suspects of league-title contenders, while mixing it up with other up-and-coming clubs.
“We are looking forward to playing against the ‘Big 3’ of the Shoreline in Valley Regional, East Hampton, and Cromwell. We are excited to go toe-to-toe with them and see where we are at,” Coach Deibert explained. “We also have some cool games against North Branford, Old Lyme, and Portland. The Shoreline Conference is anyone’s game any day.”
Deibert, who has been with the program since 2014, enters her third season at H-K’s helm, and she is assisted by Kent Ritter (also in his third year) and newcomer Tara Murphy, who played for the Cougars and is a Class of 2018 graduate.
As she is also entrenched in the H-K academic community, Deibert knows all too well what this unique and dynamic collection of Cougars can accomplish as they look to turn league opponents’ heads this winter.
“We have a great group of players. I have either taught or will teach most of them, so I have gotten to know them,” said Deibert. “I am blessed to see them and work with them daily. This year, we want to shock the Shoreline.”
Haddam-Killingworth Girls’ Basketball 2022-’23 Schedule
Thursday, Dec. 15: vs. East Hampton at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17: vs. Valley Regional at 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 20: at Morgan at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 22: at North Branford at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 29: at Avon at 5 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 6: vs. Cromwell at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 7: at Norwich Tech at 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 10: vs. Old Lyme at 6 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 13: at Westbrook at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 14: vs. Plainville at 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 17: at Hale-Ray at 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 20: vs. Old Saybrook at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 24: vs. Coginchaug at 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 27: at Portland at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 31: at East Hampton at 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 3: vs. Morgan at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 7: vs. North Branford at 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 10: at Valley Regional at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 11: vs. Montville at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 14: at Cromwell at 7 p.m.