Badin, Hamilton boys basketball set for first-ever matchup

Schools also announce resumption of football, girls basketball games

Athletes from Badin and Hamilton high schools don’t encounter each other very often on the field or court, but that doesn’t mean the rivalry has no intensity.

The Rams and the Big Blue will enjoy more chances to stoke those fires when the get together next season for the first regular-season boys basketball game and the resumption of matchups in football and girls basketball, the two schools announced Tuesday .

Badin junior Diego DeCello, who plays basketball and baseball, was looking forward to it.

“There’s a little bit of a rivalry,” he said by phone. “We see each other here and there. We have some kids at Badin who went to Hamilton through grade school. When we’re playing baseball or other sports, there’s a sense of a little rivalry. Part of that might be because we’re both on the West Side. There’s usually a good turnout.”

Hamilton, a larger public school, competes in the Greater Miami Conference and at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I level in all sports. Badin, a smaller Catholic private school, competes in the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division and mostly in the OHSSA Division II, except for the Division III football team.

The regular-season boys basketball gamewill be the first since Taft and Garfield high schools were merged into Hamilton High School for the 1980-1981 school year. The Big Blue and Rams are scheduled to open the 2022-2023 season at Hamilton on Nov. 26.

“That was very surprising,” DeCello said. “You’d figure they played once or twice throughout the years, but it hasn’t happened. There’s a little excitement for the first time ever. There should be a huge crowd for the opener. It should be a fun game.”

“It will be fun,” Badin coach Pat Kreke said in his school’s press release. “What a great way to open the season and get people geared up for boys basketball in this city. Hamilton High has been a great basketball program over the years – I know the two schools have played in a couple of previews some years ago, but regular-season games are long overdue.”

“We believe Badin will be a great way for us to open the basketball season next year, and this game has a chance to be a special event for the City of Hamilton,” Hamilton coach Kevin Higgins said in the HHS release.

The first girls game between the two schools since 2018 is scheduled to be played on Jan. 30, 2023 at Badin. The football teams are due to open the 2023 season at HHS’s Virgil Schwarm Stadium in their first game since 2000. They also squared off in 1980, 1981 and 1999, according to the Badin release. They also are scheduled to meet in the 2024 season at a location still to be determined.

“I’m very excited to revive this rivalry,” said Arvie Crouch, who recently returned to his alma mater as football coach, in the Hamilton release. “I think it’s an excellent opportunity for both programs to showcase our talent on the Butler County and Tri-State area.”

“I love it,” Rams football coach Nick Yordy said in the Badin release. “I understand that people look at size and numbers and whatever, but the students all know each other and like to compete. It’s a great way to bring a great community together.”

Badin and Hamilton often play each other in baseball, softball and other sports.

“We played playoff football as well as boys and girls soccer tournament games at Schwarm Stadium in the fall, and that helped jumpstart some of these conversations,” Badin Athletic Director Geoff Melzer said in his school’s release. “(Hamilton AD) Missy Harvey and I got together, with important input from others, and were able to schedule these games. All of us are very pleased.”