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CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa is a shot-clock state. At least it’s going to be.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union will announce separately Tuesday morning that a 35-second shot clock will be employed in boys’ and girls’ basketball beginning with the 2022-23 season, The Gazette has learned.
The IGHSAU’s advisory committee OKed the change at a meeting last month. The IHSAA followed suit in a meeting Sunday.
This will be a varsity-only endeavor for now.
“Like everyone else, we’ll adapt,” said Cedar Rapids Jefferson girls’ head coach Jason Edwards. “It’ll be something to get used to.”
And something the majority of coaches on both sides seem to be embracing.
“I think it’s a good move for the state of Iowa, in terms of keeping basketball what it was created to be and what we grew up watching and playing. I think this is going to help keep some of those things intact,” said Lisbon boys’ coach Brandon Horman, who also has experience at a big school as head coach at Jefferson. “A lot of games, I don’t think it’s going to change a whole lot. I think if you averaged it out, most possessions are much less than 35 seconds.”
What will be different is end-of-quarter strategy, end-of-game strategy. Teams obviously will not be able to hold the ball at the end of a game when they are ahead.
That was something shot-clock proponents always pointed out.
“I just think this was one of those deals that it was inevitable it was going to happen,” said North Linn girls’ coach Brian Wheatley. “I’m for it. I don’t think over the course of a game that it’s going to make that much of a difference. Obviously it’s going to change the last minute of each quarter, maybe those two-for-one type deals or whatever. The biggest change, obviously, is going to be the end of games. An eight-point game with 2 1/2 or three minutes to go, you’re not necessarily going to see a foul parade and teams just trying to hold it or whatever. I think that’s probably a good thing.”
This debate has been ongoing, with the IHSAA and IGHSAU both allowing all-day events during the regular season such as Rivalry Saturday (girls) and the Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout (boys) the past couple of seasons to try out shot clocks in games. The potential negatives include costs for each school and finding enough qualified people to run regular clocks and shot clocks.
The National Federation of State High School Associations decided in a mid-May meeting that shot clocks would be permissible by state association adoption. Iowa is adopting them.
“Not against it, but wasn’t necessarily pushing for it,” said Clayton Ridge boys’ coach Kyle Spersflage. “I do like the fact of not having to foul as early in close games when trailing by three to five points with a minute or so left. So, for me, I think it’ll have a greater impact at the end of games than what it will have the first 30 minutes of games.”
“I think the consensus was that once it became official, we would adjust,” said West Delaware’s Matt Uthoff, who had a successful stint as head boys’ coach before taking over the girls’ program this past season. “We have so many great coaches in the state, and we were just kind of waiting for our union or association to kind of tell us to do so. I think it’s great for the game of basketball. My only concern would be at the lower levels … I’ve always been a proponent of it. I think as coaches, we just need to adjust how we prepare, prepare the kids in the offseason and what not.”
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