COVID uptick has high school teams struggling with postponements as games have moved inside for winter season

·3 min read

As the COVID-19 numbers have risen in the state, many high school sports contests have been postponed due to the lack of healthy players.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, 60 girls basketball games listed on the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference website had been postponed or canceled, along with 38 boys basketball games and eight boys hockey games.

The Bloomfield boys basketball team has been shut down until Jan. 6 because there were not enough healthy players to field a team.

“In the CCC, we’re trying to say if there’s seven healthy players and a coach, we’d play the games,” Bloomfield athletic director Tammy Schondelmayer said. “But we’re not even able to accomplish that.”

Bloomfield (3-0) had to postpone games against Bulkeley Dec. 23, Granby Dec. 30 and Newington Jan. 3 and also had to postpone a rescheduled game on Jan. 5 against MLC after that team couldn’t play earlier in the season.

Executive director Glenn Lungarini said the CIAC is keeping an eye on the situation and that the organization has been monitoring transmission due to game competition throughout the pandemic. So far, he said that has been “very low.”

“We expected as we came indoors that postponements would be part of the winter season and when we were going through the holiday season we would see a bump in positive cases, although I don’t think anybody anticipated it to be where we are right now in terms of positivity,” he said.

Connecticut’s seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate is at nearly 13% as of Wednesday and cases are at an all-time high throughout the state.

“We still have a significant amount of time left in the winter season so there’s not cause for concern at this time. The winter season is one of our longer seasons so we have plenty of time to make up games.”

The Canton girls basketball team was supposed to host a holiday tournament but the team was unable to play Wednesday after Hall, its opponent, pulled out. So Farmington and St. Joseph-Trumbull played Wednesday at Canton High and Canton is scheduled to play Farmington Thursday.

“Farmington could get two games and I get one and it’s my tournament,” Canton coach Brian Medeiros said. “It’s crazy.”

Medeiros also said a flu bug went through his team before Christmas and Canton had to play Rockville. Both teams had eight players each.

“We canceled JV and played a varsity game,” Medeiros said. “It was probably more a JV-varsity game. I started two freshmen. Four of my major varsity players couldn’t play.”

The Simsbury girls, who are 5-0, were also supposed to host a holiday tournament, which was eventually canceled after the three other teams pulled out.

“We went from a tournament to two games to one game to zero games,” coach Sam Zullo said. “We thought about rescheduling the whole thing to a Saturday-Sunday in late January but that might put people in a tough spot, having 4-5 games in a week, which you can’t do.”

Zullo was at least able to schedule a scrimmage with Sacred Heart Academy this week.

Manchester boys basketball coach John Reiser’s team is healthy but he hasn’t played since Dec. 20 against Newington. Hall pulled out of a game scheduled for Tuesday against Manchester.

“Hopefully we’ll play against RHAM on Monday,” Reiser said. “It will be nice to play somebody other than Manchester. Honestly, though the preseason is so short, it gave us a chance to work on some things.”

Lori Riley can be reached at lriley@courant.com.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting