"Following protocols": St. Joe's Emily Haverl works to ensure girls basketball season

Emily Haverl brings two years of varsity experience back to the court.

Emily Haverl brings two years of varsity experience back to the court.

David G. Whitham / For Hearst Connecticut Media

TRUMBULL - Emily Haverl has worked every season to help St. Joseph’s girls’ basketball team contend in the FCIAC and Class MM. Her will to succeed was forged her freshman year when she joined head coach Chris Lindwall’s program.

“My freshman coach (Shannon Hovan) pulled me aside after a game with Trumbull and told me it was the best game I ever played and that if I keep playing like that I can achieve anything I want,” said Haverl, who is the most established player returning for the Cadets ( 13-9 overall, 8-8 in the FCIAC). “That was my best personal moment.”

Lindwall said of his 5-foot-6 guard: “Emily is a lefty shooter. Over the last year-and-a-half she has improved her skill work to be an important part of what we do. She was behind Rahmia Johnston (a second team All-League player) and now she in a position to battle for a starting spot.”

Haverl, fellow guards Erin Parchinski, Nicole Zito and forward Grace Cottle are team captains.

“Our main responsibility is to make sure that everyone is following the protocols and that the players are being safe on and off the court because we don’t want to jeopardize our season in any way,” Haverl said. “It’s been my dream since freshman year, as I’m sure it was for my fellow captains, to be a leader.”

Player development will help overcome the graduation loss of six players.

“A lot of us have been with Coach Lindwall since middle school playing AAU ball (CT Hoopsters),” Haverl said. “We know his expectations and what we have to bring with us every day to practice and to games.”

Lindwall praised his seniors for keeping the team prepared.

“The captains come from great families with great core values,” he said. “That is what we get from our kids is because we have such a family atmosphere. I like to say that our kids come in as young girls and leave as young ladies.”

All starting positions and court time are there to be earned.

“Whatever her position is, and we haven’t determined starters as of now for any position, the thing for Emily is that she is competitive. Emily is a hard-working kid who is focused on getting better,” Lindwall said.

The players worked hard in the offseason.

Haverl said: “Since the summer we were sent conditioning information and were running on our own. These past few months we’ve been able to condition in cohorts of four and do virtual workouts too. We spent time in the Fall League before it got cut short and worked on building skills there. The continuity from freshman to jayvee to varsity never leaves you behind. It is the same workouts at practice.”

Haverl gave a shout out to St. Joe’s trainer Dan McDonagh and strength coach Alyssa Thresher.

“They have always been great with us, but this year they have worked extra hard to set it up for us to do the virtual workouts and everything,” she said. “Because of the 4-player cohorts with weightlifting we all got stronger. And by being together, we were able to get back into the groove of things as teammates.”

A shorter regular season and revamped postseason schedule hasn’t changed the Cadets resolve.

“Coach Lindwall always guides the team in a positive direction,” Haverl said. “I think at first we all just wanted to get back on the court. It brought back the same connection we had last year. Of course, we all want to win and that is important. But like Coach said, we all just want to play and keep everyone healthy while doing it.’”

St. Joseph had three weeks of practice before opening their season at Norwalk. They host Fairfield Warde Friday and Brien McMahon on Tuesday.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354