High school basketball should have a shot clock

On February 28, 2018, a girls basketball game in Minnesota between Waseca High School and Marshall High School received national attention ending in a low score of, 17-4. KARE-TV reported Waseca winning the game, but Marshall held the ball for up to 8 minutes within a half, completely stalling Waseca offense. This caused great frustration within the gym amongst fans as the game became unbearable to watch and completely changed the flow and rhythm. What makes the situation even more troubling is this is not the only example of such incidents occurring.

Multiple states have reported issues of stalling and slowed paced strategies from teams across high school campuses nationwide. When considering why this becomes a consistent occurrence in the first place, can be pointed to one underlying factor.

There is no shot clock in high school basketball.

The purpose of a shot clock in basketball is to keep the pace and flow of a game, while limiting the amount of time the offensive side has to score, ranging from 24-35 seconds. If a shot is not taken between this allotted time, then the ball is turned over to the other team.

Yet, with the absence of one within Texas and many other states, there is essentially no consequence for a team to run the clock out on offense for a substantial amount of time, as long as each player only keeps possession of the ball for five seconds. This creates a slow atmosphere, which becomes heavily felt within the fourth quarter, as teams simply retire their offense if they have a substantial lead.

The NBA faced similar issues before the introduction of a shot clock in 1954. “[The] game was still frequently boring, degenerating all too often into what were known as ‘freeze-and-foul’ contests, with the team in the lead playing possession ball to run out the clock and the losing team fouling to try to recover, the game stopping each time it succeeded,” John Taylor wrote in The Rivalry.

Adding the 24-second shot clock allow both teams somewhat equal opportunity to generate offense, considering offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds. Regardless, the 1955-1956 NBA season was a huge success for the fans, who could now enjoy the flow of the game and a substantial increase was seen in the number of points earned per quarter for each team.

Following the NBA, other associations included a shot clock including the WNBA, NCAA, NAIA, and FIBA among others. According to the USA Basketball Association, they have adopted a shot clock with 9th-12th graders having 24-seconds and ages 12-14 having 30-seconds allowing for “more possessions for each team, better game flow, and additional decision-making opportunities.”

In reality, to fault the players or coaches for taking advantage of no shot clock and weaving it into their strategies would be directing the criticism to the wrong place. The critique becomes largely placed on those who have not implemented this change nationwide and more particularly states not taking the initiative to excel their programs and the development of players beyond high school.

Those who oppose the addition of a shot clock include arguments consisting of the price as they range between $2,000-$2,500, the idea that teams who are less equipped in talent will have no chance of winning and the high school level of basketball is not required to entertain the public.

However, all can be disputed considering the shot clock is an investment for years to come, competition should never be based on helping the less talented team within the upper level, and entertainment within any sport should be fully supported since it brings revenue to various organizations.

Overall, high school is an essential time for these athletes. And from the players to the fans, to the lovers of the game, adding a shot clock is not a matter of if, but when. It seems essential to the game.