There was a great sequence in a recent Pope John XXIII High School girls basketball game when a guard made an amazing, no-look pass to the trailing forward who finished it off with a layup.
The immediate thought was: ‘Wow, these girls are great players, they must have been playing basketball together for a long time.’’
And you would be right on both counts, only these stars began playing together long before they arrived at Pope John as freshmen.
They are the Haidul twins, Korine and Katty, who are both 1,000-point scorers, candidates for league MVP, and most important of all, they have the 16-4 Tigers rolling toward a possible trip to the Boston Garden. They are the daughters of Richard and Elaine Haidul of Wakefield.
Both were starting players as freshmen when the Lady Tigers advanced to the North sectional final. Pope John head coach Jake Feraco said he feels “blessed” to have such a talented tandem, dedicated to basketball and the team-first philosophy he instills in all of his players.
“They’re the two best players in the league,” said Feraco emphatically. “They also have that competitive edge that you see in the best athletes. They’re very skilled athletes and they’re very intelligent basketball players, but they also set a great example for the younger girls. The underclassmen look up to them.”
One Great Guard
Korine, the younger of the twins by two minutes, is a 5-foot-7-inch guard who scored her 1000th point on Jan. 17, 2019, versus Fontbonne Academy.
According to Feraco, Korine has made tremendous progress in her game since freshman year. Now known for her superior court vision, she has developed her passing game to the point where she averages seven assists per game. She is an excellent outside shooter who can also hurt defenses with aggressive drives to the basket.
Korine remembers the days when she and her sister first took to the court together in Wakefield youth basketball.
“We started in the second grade,” said Korine. “We’ve been on Wakefield travel teams and AAU basketball teams, the Boston Showstoppers, the Mass Huskies, and the Mass Thundercats.”
Korine said she is enjoying her third season in the Pope John program after returning (with her sister) from Matignon.
“It’s a great group of girls and everyone is motivated to work hard and win – we all share that common goal,” said Korine.
The sisters’ familiarity with each other’s styles and strengths has been an asset for the team’s offense.
“It good to team up alongside her because we both know how we play,” said Korine. “I just know where she’s going to go and if she’s in the right position for her shot. She definitely motivates me.”
Korine feels that coach Feraco has the team playing its best basketball of the season heading in to the State Tournament.
“Mr. Feraco is a great guy who pushes us to do better every day,” said Korine. “He’s serious when he has to be. He motivates you to your potential.”
The goal is the Garden for the Haidul twins.
“I want to win it all and play in the Garden, but our focus is one step at a time,” said Korine. “But I think we can get there if we work at it.”
Center of Attention
Katherine “Katty” Haidul is a 5-foot-11-inch center who scored her 1,000th point on Dec. 17, 2018 versus Green Academy.
Katty has been a consistent double-double performer for the Tigers with a nice touch around the basket.
“Katty does a great job boxing out and positioning herself to keep opponents away from the basket,” said Feraco.
Katty was a perimeter player earlier in her career before adding some height and strength and becoming a force in the paint.
“As I got older, I started using my size to my advantage,” said Katty.
And it helps having her sister delivering the basketball at just the right time to maximize her scoring opportunities.
“We have been playing together since we were seven years old, so literally Korine can make a cut and she doesn’t have to be in my eyesight and I know where she is,” said Katty. “We have really good chemistry with each other on the court.”
Katty said the 1,000-point moment was one she’ll remember long after her basketball career is in the books.
“It was a very exciting milestone to reach,” said Katty. “When I eclipsed it, I was really excited to move on to the rest of the season because we had a really big year ahead of us. I was so excited when Korine reached 1,000 points because it was something we were able to do together. We have been motivating each other on and off the court and that was a milestone that we were able to attain together.”
Another milestone would be the state semifinals at the Garden.
“We have a shot but we’re taking it one game at a time,” said Katty. “It would be a very good milestone for our school and our team to get there. That’s our goal.”
Like her sister, Katty said that coach Feraco has been the architect of the program’s success. “Coach Feraco is the man with the plan,” said Katty. “He always has a game plan in mind and an action to execute it.”
The two Pope John stars are unsure about their exact collegiate destinations, although there is a possibility that they could reunite at Framingham State University this fall.
Where they will reunite next year is Pope John High School for a special night when the school holds a 1,000-point club banner-raising ceremony in their honor.
And the Haidul twins also undoubtedly have two spots waiting in the Pope John XXIII Hall of Fame following their college careers.