It may surprise you to know that in much of the country, high school basketball teams don’t use a shot clock: even at the girls varsity level. Welcome to the AISA girls AAA state (Alabama) championship game between Glenwood and Lee-Scott Academy at Huntington College. Let’s get right to the action:
* Glenwood shot to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, and led, 3-1, at halftime. Yep.
* Lee-Scott held the ball for the final 7:40 of the first quarter and did not score.
* Lee-Scott held the ball — and we do mean held — for 25 of the game’s 28 minutes. Glenwood possessed the ball for 47 seconds total in the first half.
Lee-Scott coach Chad Prewett knew he had to try something different.
“We felt like they were better than us coming in,” Prewett said. “We went back and basically watched how they scored overall in the three games, and we felt like our best chance was to change the game. We wanted to shrink the game,” .
What amuses me most about these low-scoring, stall-ball games is the righteous indignation of observers — mostly journalists — who believe that the integrity of the game is being trampled upon. Like this guy. Lighten up, Francis.
Yeah, as if a high school girls basketball game is going to be Lakers-Pistons otherwise.
Personally I like an occasional anomaly like this, and I wish they’d do away with the shot clock in men’s basketball as well. I coach in a high school league where there’s no shot clock, and no one has ever tried an extended stalling tactic — or even a four-corners offense — all season. There are too many ways it can backfire on you, unless you’ve got All-American point guards running it, like Dean Smith had at North Carolina all those years.
Under normal circumstances, the absence of the shot clock just allows you to teach your team patience and game-management skills. And those spectators who object to the slower pace can amuse themselves with Angry Birds on their phones. Or, you know, stay home.