Impact of shot clock on display


Thirty-five seconds, Ryan Wilson said, is a long time.
It’s a point the Fort Madison High School boys basketball coach stressed to his team with its first experience with the new shot clock that is being used in Iowa high school basketball this season.
It’s why Wilson’s message to his team was simple — be patient.
“It is a long time, and we don’t have to be super-fast or out of control to get a shot up in that time,” Wilson said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of teams pressing to take time off the shot clock and all. You just have to grasp that 35 seconds is a long time, just be quick with the ball, getting it across half-court, get into your offense, not hurry.”
The big red numbers on the shot clocks that are above each basket catch your eye when you walk into a gym, just because it’s something new. But it doesn’t take long to forget they’re there.
There was only one shot-clock violation in the WACO/Holy Trinity boys and girls doubleheader at Shottenkirk Gym on Monday.
Were there some rushed shots? Absolutely. But it’s just part of the learning process.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a huge deal,” Holy Trinity boys coach John Hellige said. “We played about 15 or so games this summer with the shot clock, and we had one violation, and we forced about five. I don’t see a huge fundamental shift.”
“I would say at first, for the girls, it was more nerves thinking about the shot clock,” said Central Lee girls coach Taylor Hickey about the Hawks’ season opener at Winfield-Mount Union. “Once the game got rolling, and they got into a routine, they just played.”
Hickey remembered when she played for Notre Dame High School, and the Nikes played a fast-paced offense.
“I think if we had it back then, I don’t think it would have mattered,” she said. “I really think it’s going to be a good asset to girls basketball. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but you forget about it once you get into the flow of the game.”
It was noticeable, during Monday’s games at Holy Trinity, in late-quarter situations, when teams had to run offense instead of milking a minute or more off the clock.
“There have been some game plans where we’ve tried to stretch out the court and hold it a little bit,” Hellige said. “You can’t do as much of that anymore.”
“It will be nice to see (the shot clock),” said Wilson, whose team opens the season Friday at Mount Pleasant. “Teams won’t be able to hold the ball for the last minute, minute-and-a-half of the half or the quarter. It’s definitely a game-changer.”
It will also have an impact defensively. Wilson expects to see more full-court pressure, to drain as much time for the offense to have in the half-court.
“We’ve pressed in the past, and we’ll continue to press,” Wilson said. “The mindset right now is keep the player you’re defending in front of you for 35 seconds. Don’t gamble as much. Play to the shot clock.”
John Bohnenkamp is an award-winning sports reporter and a regular contributor to Pen City Current.

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