Time long overdue for adopting shot clock in high school basketball

By Jack Moody

In every level above high school, a shot clock is used in basketball games, but only eight states use a shot clock in high school basketball.

The shot clock is a timer used to increase the game’s pace and scoring levels. The offensive team must attempt a shot with the ball leaving the player’s hand and either touching the rim or entering the basket within a time limit. If the team does not get the shot off, that possession results in a turnover.

The NBA has a 24-second shot clock, and for men and women at the college level, they get 30 seconds.

The clock was added in the NBA because it had problems attracting fans due to teams hanging onto the ball and running out the clock once they led the game. Teams would be able to pass the ball around until the time ran out.

If a team chooses to stall, the trailing team would be forced to foul to get the ball back after free throws. This resulted in lots of low scoring games with many fouls, which bored fans. One example of this would be when the Pistons defeated the Lakers by a score of 19-18 in the 1950s.

When it first got introduced, more people came to watch after more points were scored. No high school games are as low scoring as 19-18, but teams do use stalling to their advantage. More teams will try to hold the ball in the last minute to make the other team foul and then will shoot free throws. It’s a good strategy when the game has no shot clock.

Having a shot clock could also speed up games, and would fix the issue of teams stalling in the final minutes. The shot clock will reward teams that play harder on defense, and it forces offenses to play better and find good shots to take earlier in the possession.

Head coach Ryan Shultz would also like to see the shot clock be introduced to high school basketball. “I think it would speed up the game a little, reward good defense, make offenses execute and protect leads better by continuing to execute and play. It would also allow teams to come back without just pressing or fouling. It would add another layer of strategy and decision making. I think fans would like it.”

Assistant coach Chris Dyvig agreed. “I would like to see it for class 4A because I think it would reward good defense, and there is enough talent to utilize a 40 or 45 second shot clock. I think it might affect level of play in lower classes.”

For coaches, it would change strategies and even how they might run practice. It would be a big a transition, but Dyvig said he thinks it would be worth it. “I think the biggest challenge or change would be offensively. Teams would be forced to get more creative and take more shots. I think the up tempo style would be good for the game.”

The positives and negatives with the shot clock depends on each team and their styles. Teams that take longer to get offense set up will have a harder time finding quality shots before they are out of time. Teams playing opponents that are tough defensively, it’s only going to make it harder to find good looks with the shorter amount of time.

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