The verdict came down via a press release from the National Federation of State High School Associations that they will not incorporate the shot clock in high school basketball. You can read the entire press release here.
Kent Summers, the director of performing arts and sports at NFHS stated in the release, “In addition to the fact that there is some concern about the costs associated with the use of a shot clock, the committee also expressed a belief that the game is typically played with an up-tempo style even without a shot clock,”.
Summers continued, “In addition, the committee believes that coaches should have the option of a slower-paced game if they believe it makes their team more competitive in specific situations. This could be especially true for smaller schools with limited budgets, which comprise a significant number of the 18,000 basketball-playing schools. Since the NFHS writes rules for all sizes of schools and teams, it has to consider what is best for the masses.”
High school sports are seeing changes throughout the landscape with reference to the budgets to the point that some schools and school districts are doing away with sports or thinking about doing away with them. So the budget that is used to schedule and play these games is not thought about when one team chooses to sit and hold the basketball, better known as “stalling” to give themselves a chance to be in the game late or win it late? It also does the game of basketball no justice at all. Is that a way to teach the game of basketball and play the game of basketball?
Fans and parents show up to see a basketball game , scouts show up to see a special talent or to look for talent, players want to play, learn the game and continue to develop the skills needed to earn a scholarship, does playing “stall ball” allow them to do that?
Another area that stands out in the press release is the “coaches should have the option for a slower-paced game”. Can that not be done with a shot clock? On the collegiate level there are plenty of teams noted for playing a slower-paced style of game by working deep into the shot clock. If a coach wants to play a slower pace were quite sure it can be done with a shot clock, but the “stalling” tactic is not a “slower-pace” it is more like “no-pace”.
In the end with no shot clock you in essence do not reward a team for playing solid defense, yet when a team “stalls” is there really a defense for that outside of trapping and attempting to force a turnover either by a steal or getting a 5-second count. The team that stalls is basically saying “we are going to play this way so you have to play this way because we don’t want to go up and down the floor with you”. A shot clock prevents that because at some point they have to shoot the basketball.
The high school game of basketball needs the shot clock and unfortunately that will not be for the present or near future. We will have more games that end with scores like that in Oregon during a girls state championship game where Springfield defeated Willamette 16-7 or like a game played in Tennessee where a quarterfinal state playoff game was won in overtime by East Literature over White House 13-12.
The next time you attend a high school basketball game and it’s clear one team is out matched but they are still playing no matter the point differential applaud them for playing the game of basketball and not stall ball because at least they are competing and putting forth the effort.