January 7, 2010 in Sports

High school shot clock ticks off few people

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Did you ever have a party and an uninvited guest shows up?

The person doesn’t do anything obnoxious or draw attention to himself. In fact, in time the person just blends into the surroundings.

That’s much like what Washington high school boys basketball teams found this season when the 35-second shot clock made its debut. Washington is just the sixth state to adopt a shot clock for boys.

The obvious question is, “Have you noticed the shot clock?” I was at the Ferris/Gonzaga Prep game last month for about a quarter before it caught my attention. Not one violation occurred.

“It hasn’t been a huge factor for us,” G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre said. “We haven’t seen it go off too much.”

Adding the shot clock for boys added no extra expense for schools, considering clocks were already mounted in gyms. Girls have been using a shot clock since the mid-1970s.

Have you ever contemplated how long 35 seconds is – other than the obvious, that it’s a little more than half a minute? So what impact will the shot clock have?

“The area of the game it’s going to change the most are end-of-game situations or end of quarters,” McIntyre said. “How teams value those possessions will be most important.”

The shot clock could have more of an impact if teams use full-court pressure.

“I could see teams using pressure or a soft press to burn some time off the clock so teams don’t have as much time to run their motion or sets in halfcourt,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre, like other coaches, has incorporated the shot clock in his practices.

“We just want the guys to be used to finding it on the wall,” McIntyre said. “We use it to create end-of-quarter type of stuff. In games we have guys on the bench keeping an eye on it.”

Idaho doesn’t have the shot clock for boys or girls. Lake City boys coach Jim Winger doesn’t think it’s necessary. Winger’s team played four games in Washington last month.

“I’m not a fan of it,” Winger said. “I’m sure it’s coming our way at some point. I think it punishes some teams that would want to use different slow-down strategies.”

Winger doesn’t think the shot clock will have much impact either.

“We’re not a team that screams up and down the court, but 35 seconds is a lot of time to run your offense when you think about it,” Winger said.

Former Central Valley girls coach Dale Poffenroth, in his sixth year at Coeur d’Alene, has coached with and without a shot clock. He’s not a fan.

“Without a shot clock I can control the final score,” Poffenroth said. “That prevents scores like 122-19. You must really play better defense without a clock than with one. When you have a clock, you look for the first good shot. Without a clock, you take the best possible shot. The clock was put in to prevent people from stalling.”

A shot clock was needed for Idaho’s 5A state girls championship game in 2001 when Borah brought things to a standstill while topping Boise 17-7. There was an outcry for a clock soon thereafter, but nothing materialized.

Can’t imagine that was the pace of game the founder of basketball imagined years ago.


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