Prep Basketball

Shot clock at Iowa girls' basketball Rivalry Saturday: The aftermath

The more impactful rule modification centered around fouls and the bonus

(Cliff Jette/Freelance)
(Cliff Jette/Freelance)

When the addition of a shot clock for Rivalry Saturday was discussed, another rule modification was added as an experimental throw-in.

It turned out to be the more impactful modification.

“I really did like the foul reset,” North Linn girls’ basketball coach Brian Wheatley said Wednesday, four days after Rivalry Saturday had passed. “Sometimes, you get in a game and you get some cheap fouls early and then the other team is shooting free throws for the rest of the half.

“This gives you a chance to start fresh, and keeps the game flowing better.”

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union granted two experimental rule amendments for Rivalry Saturday. One was a 35-second shot clock. The other was the foul/bonus rule used at the college level, in which a team earns two free throws after the fifth foul of a quarter, and the fouls reset after each quarter instead of each half.

At the high-school level, a team is awarded a one-and-one opportunity after the seventh foul of the half, two free throws after the 10th.

“I liked the fouls,” Iowa City West Coach B.J. Mayer said. “It allows you to be more aggressive, and I think it allows officials to call the game more consistently throughout.

“It provides some strategies I didn’t think about until later ... do you foul at the end of a quarter if the other team isn’t in the bonus?”

IGHSAU assistant director Gary Ross was in attendance at Kohawk Arena virtually all day Saturday.

“First and foremost, it was a great day of basketball,” he said. “Great matchups, great teams. It would have been interesting to see how these rules would have worked with teams that weren’t as good, or if there had been some lopsided games.”

All eight of the games were determined by 15 points or less, including a one-pointer (Cedar Falls over Johnston) and an overtime game (North Linn over Van Buren County).

The impact of the shot clock was minimal. There were only two violations all day, and Ross counted “only four or five” rushed shots.

“We had one possession in which we were tied up underneath the basket and we had to chuck it up,” said Mayer, whose Women of Troy defeated Gilbert, 52-41. “But it was no issue for us.”

With the shot clock Saturday, teams averaged 50.6 points per game, compared to 51.1 the previous year. So the pace was unaffected.

The difference was the end-of-game situations; teams could play defense the final 2-3 minutes instead of being forced to foul.

“One thing, it forces teams to keep playing,” Wheatley said. “You can’t pull the ball out.”

Ross plans to send a survey to all coaches in the event, asking for input.

If the shot clock is used again next year, Wheatley would like to see it shortened to 30 seconds.

“Thirty-five seemed a little long,” he said.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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