Hold­ing pat­tern dis­turb­ing

Shot clock de­bate heats up af­ter Boone’s 20-16 win

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS WEEKEND - By J.C. Car­na­han Buddy Collings and Jeff Gar­de­nour con­trib­uted to this re­port. jcar­na­han @or­lan­dosen­tinel.com

The de­bate over whether or not Florida high school bas­ket­ball play should be gov­erned by shot clocks boiled over Thurs­day af­ter a stall tac­tic led to an un­usu­ally mem­o­rable and low-scor­ing game at Boone.

The Braves (8-6) pulled out a 20-16 up­set win over na­tion­ally ranked Oak Ridge (11-3) in a game played at a snail’s pace. The half­time score was 3-0 in fa­vor of Oak Ridge and the short­age of shots taken caused an up­roar on so­cial me­dia. Many hoops fans took ex­cep­tion to teams hold­ing the ball.

The Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of State High School As­so­ci­a­tions does not man­date shot clocks for boys and girls bas­ket­ball games. Just eight states through­out the coun­try — Cal­i­for­nia, Mary­land, Mas­sachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Is­land, South Dakota and Wash­ing­ton — use a shot clock.

The FHSAA Bas­ket­ball Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee last dis­cussed the is­sue in 2016. The com­mit­tee of coaches was in fa­vor of adding shot clocks at the time, but the topic was dis­missed as be­ing too costly when it comes to equip­ment in­stal­la­tion and the pos­si­ble need to hire ad­di­tional of­fi­cials for games.

Boone drained much of the game clock through­out the first three quar­ters by hold­ing the ball at a stand­still and pass­ing it around the perimeter. The Braves took a 5-4 lead with un­der seven min­utes to play in the fourth. The fi­nal pe­riod was lit­tered with foul shots.

“Boone was dis­ci­plined and ex­e­cuted their game plan, and I can re­spect that,” Oak Ridge coach Steve Reece said Fri­day. “We missed some free throws that could’ve won us the game, so I’m not tak­ing any­thing away from them. Out of all the teams we’ve played in the state the past two years, they’re the only ones to beat us, and they’ve done it twice.”

Oak Ridge is 32-0 against all other Florida schools the past two years. Boone won last year’s meet­ing 78-76 with a con­sid­er­ably dif­fer­ent lineup.

“If you re­ally sit back and look at it from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, our plan was not to go out there and hold the ball,” Boone coach Dave Martin­son said. “Oak Ridge is so long and big and we knew there was no way we’d be able to pen­e­trate that [de­fen­sive] zone. The plan was to spread them out some.”

The re­sult was Boone at­tempt­ing to bait the Pi­o­neers out of their zone be­fore get­ting into its half­court of­fense. When that didn’t hap­pen, the Braves let the clock tick away with­out in­ter­rup­tion. It’s an ap­proach that’s im­pos­si­ble to mimic at the pro­fes­sional and col­le­giate lev­els.

The NBA im­ple­mented a 24-sec­ond shot clock for pro bas­ket­ball in 1954. That’s the same time limit used at the in­ter­na­tional level and by the WNBA.

The men’s col­lege game added a 45-sec­ond shot clock for the 1985-86 sea­son. It was re­duced to 35 sec­onds in 1993. An­other NCAA tweak trimmed the clock to 30 sec­onds in 2015, which falls in line with women’s col­lege bas­ket­ball.

The shot clock is ac­ti­vated when a player touches the ball on an in­bound pass from an­other player. The clock is turned off when the ball makes con­tact with the rim and re­sets af­ter a re­bound or change of pos­ses­sion when ob­tained by the de­fense.

Shot clocks with a 30-sec­ond limit have been used by some state high school teams out­side the FHSAA.

“A game with no shot clock is like play­ing a foot­ball game and not be­ing able to rush the quar­ter­back,” said coach Kenny Gil­lion of West Oaks, a mem­ber of the Sun­shine In­de­pen­dent Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion, which he said has used shot clocks as a league norm since 2014.

The two coaches from Thurs­day night’s game have a sim­i­lar out­look on the shot clock’s place at the prep level.

“I do think a shot clock is needed, but not be­cause of this game,” Reece said.

“If it does hap­pen, I hope it hap­pens dur­ing my ca­reer be­cause I think it’s a chal­lenge that will be kind of fun,” Martin­son said. “But lo­gis­ti­cally, that’s the is­sue. With the way [schools] are strapped fi­nan­cially, there are a lot of other things we need more than a clock in a gym.”

SMDOWELL/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

Boone guard Robert Soto holds the ball against Oak Ridge to al­low time to lapse dur­ing Thurs­day's 20-16 win.

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