PORT ANGELES — Boys and girls basketball will follow the same shot clock and teams will have a uniform 10 seconds to bring the ball across the half-court stripe when prep sports resume.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced 18 amendments to go into effect for the 2020-21 school year.
Most of the moves dealt with transfer, discipline and practice time rules, but one will have a significant impact on game play.
The assembly of 53 high school and middle school administrators approved a measure to lower the shot clock for boys basketball from 35 seconds to 30. The shot clock for girls will remain at 30 seconds.
Washington is one of nine states across the country to use a shot clock for high school basketball.
The assembly also adopted the 10-second backcourt rule for girls and made uniform the “closely guarded violation” section so that both boys and girls must be in the front court in order for a violation to occur. Previously for girls, a violation could occur anywhere on the court.
North Olympic Peninsula basketball coaches were supportive of the moves to standardize timing and guarding rules across the two genders.
Boys basketball coaches at Port Angeles, Sequim and Forks all said they can see positives from the move to a 30-second shot clock.
“I’m excited about it because I like it when things are universal,” Port Angeles boys coach Kasey Ulin said. “There are a lot of positives that can come from it. I think it will help officials. A lot of them work boys and girls games and that can be difficult to make the switch.”
Ulin, the leading scorer in Forks history, played professional basketball in Europe, which follows a standardized set of rules governed by FIBA, the international basketball federation. Basketball in the USA is a bit of a hodge podge of different rules at different levels of the sport.
“Playing overseas really opened up my eyes to the benefits of universal rules. They had a 24-second shot clock all the way from the youth level on up and you really could see players learning the game learning how to make decisions quickly. And it also promotes team play, ball movement and having discipline in what you do.”
Sequim boys coach Greg Glasser believes the rule change will benefit teams that already play an uptempo game offensively.
“It will reward those teams that like to push the pace. The game has changed quite a bit too. Teams want to get up and down the court, get shots up, so I’m not sure if it will have a huge impact.
“Defensively, those teams that like to press a lot and kill the clock that way and zone may benefit from that due to the lack of time teams have to get a shot up. Some teams press in the backcourt to limit the amount of time you have to get a good quality shot. And teams that play a zone, they will be getting back faster to get into the zone and play defense.”
He does see a benefit on boys/girls doubleheader nights.
“We won’t have to fiddle with the shot clock in our home gym,” Glasser joked.
Forks boys coach Rick Gooding likes his teams to play with pace and said his team could even handle a 24-second shot clock like that found in the NBA and internationally.
“With the evolution of basketball, you could give us a 24-second shot clock, the same as the NBA, and it wouldn’t make a difference. The only times we have shot-clock violation is if the ball goes out of bounds and we have a little confusion on where we are at on the clock.
“Since I’ve started coaching we haven’t had more than 10 shot clock violations. And that’s not just us, everybody is using their athleticism more and kids are bigger, faster and stronger. Most teams want to speed you up, make you shoot. We have a 12-second clock drill that is perfect for this.”
And Gooding said he thinks the scoreboard operators will be the biggest beneficiaries.
“The poor scoreboard and shot clock operators, sometimes those things are like the Da Vinci Code in figuring out how to switch between games,” Gooding joked.
In other moves made by the WIAA:
• Class 1B schools may play six-person football, with a maximum of 16 players allowed to suit up for contests.
• Volleyball teams may schedule 18 matches (up from 16).
• Wrestlers may participate in up to six matches per day (exception to NFHS rule of five).
• Eliminated requirement wrestlers compete in four competitions before state-qualifying event.
• In football, contact may be allowed only during one of the two-a-day workouts.
• The WIAA will be allowed to review video and may suspend participant(s) if the offending behavior was missed by game officials.
• The WIAA may increase suspensions based upon aggressive conduct, inappropriate language and/or other circumstances.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected].