Hillhouse and Wilbur Cross will be playing against one another in boys basketball this season after all.
One regular-season game has been scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Floyd Little Athletic Center. The teams were supposed to play twice this season, but both were canceled — originally — when Hillhouse had two separate two-week COVID-19 quarantine periods.
“The coaches were on board and the players for the most part who I spoke to are happy and excited to have the opportunity to play the game,” said Erik Patchkofsky, New Haven’s citywide athletic director. “COVID has taken a lot away from our students with them not being able to be in school. It is the responsibility of us as athletic administrators to find a way for our kids to participate no matter what the challenges are as long as we do it in a safe manner.”
Had this attempt not been made, this would have been the first time in the 101-year history of the rivalry that a game was not played in a single season.
“When it comes to high school basketball, for the city of New Haven to possibly be completely robbed of this game, it just would have been for me, almost heartbreaking,” Hillhouse coach Renard Sutton said. “The kids are anxious to play anybody, let alone to play the city game.”
Hillhouse is currently 2-5 while Cross stands at 8-4, coming off an overtime loss to West Haven in the SCC tournament semifinals on Tuesday.
Patchkofsky said there will be a players-only luncheon held after the game is over Saturday. Each player is allowed two spectators for the game. No other spectators will be admitted.
The final day of the winter sports season is Sunday. So any regular-season games can be made up this weekend if teams choose to do so.
“I think the Cross-Hillhouse game is woven into the fabric of our city. I think throughout the 30 years I’ve been a part of the New Haven Public Schools, kids have always put this game on their calendar at the beginning of every season,” Patchkofsky said. “Unless it became impossible on the calendar or because of COVID restrictions, it was important for this department to find a way to extend the opportunity to play this game for our kids.”