Haigh, Kaack cap championship year
Mirror girls basketball all-stars
Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic won its seventh PIAA girls basketball championship in March, but the Lady Marauders aren’t finished collecting hardware yet.
Head coach Kristi Kaack and senior Teresa Haigh have been selected as the Altoona Mirror’s Coach and Player of the Year, respectively.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of Teresa, because she was a fantastic player before this year, but just the growth and her all-around game this year has been really fun to watch,” Kaack said. “She’s a kid that’s going to do whatever you need her to do. She’s a coaches’ dream, because she’s always going to work as hard as she can at practice. You never have to push her or motivate her to do better. She’s just always ready to do whatever we need her to do.”
Haigh was joined by junior teammate Leah Homan, Hollidaysburg junior Marin Miller, Altoona senior Adalynn Cherry and Tyrone junior Jaida Parker on the first team. Miller made the first team for the second year in a row. Parker was second team last year, and Homan and Cherry were both on the third team.
Haigh averaged 18 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and played in all 21 contests for the Class 1A state champions.
“I’m so honored and so thankful for everyone who has helped me over my high school career,” Haigh said. “I’m just so grateful that I’ve been selected. It’s incredible.”
The Seton Hill commit made the second team as a junior but really worked on her game in the offseason.
“The biggest change in my game is that when I started off in high school, I was just a shooter,” Haigh said. “I realized I was going to have to become an all-around player for my team to become successful. So, I worked really hard in the weight room and worked out and trained over the summer so that I was able to be able to take the ball strong to the hoop and be a better rebounder.”
That work was evident in Bishop Guilfoyle’s 62-47 win over Jenkintown in which Haigh scored a team-high 16 points and added 10 rebounds.
“You saw her versatility in the state championship game,” Kaack said. “They were really focusing on her and trying to take away her outside shot, but she found a way to post up or drive it hard to the basket. I remember when I got the job and people told me she could shoot the 3. That’s all I heard, but we talked to her the last two years about becoming an all-around player, and she’s done just that. We’re excited to see what she’ll do for Seton Hill with how much she’s developed.”
Kaack, who won a state title at BG in just her third year leading the program, becomes the first person to be both the Mirror’s Player of the Year, which she accomplished as a player for Altoona in the 2004-2005 season, and Mirror Coach of the Year. She also made the first team in 2003-2004. Tyrone’s Luke Rhoades, who led his team to the District 6 Class 4A championship, finished as the runner-up among coaches this season.
“I was so blessed to have the team that I did to coach this year. My coaching staff is also phenomenal, so it’s definitely a team effort,” Kaack said. “As a player, I enjoyed being in the spotlight. As a coach, I just want to do everything for the kids. I want to see them be successful, so awards aren’t that important to me as long as the kids are growing and I’m helping them become successful.”
Kaack is 51-20 in her three seasons coaching the Lady Marauders. She led BG to a District 6 Class 2A championship last season and a PIAA quarterfinal appearance before the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kaack had her third son in the middle of last season and is currently pregnant with her fourth son on the way.
“I’m blessed, because we have an amazing support system that allows me to coach while we’re growing our family at the same time,” Kaack said. “Obviously, I love my family and my kids and I’m excited to add another one, but I have a true passion for coaching. So, I’m really thankful that we have such great support and that I have the ability to do both.”