Sports

A shot clock for boys hoops?

Basketball’s version of the two-minute offense in the boys game might come to an end as soon as the upcoming season.

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Executive Director Mike Colbrese said the governing body’s Representative Assembly will vote April 24 in Renton on whether to implement a shot clock for high school boys basketball.

The initiative requires a supermajority — 60 percent approval — to pass the 35-member assembly.

Colbrese said the proposal stems from a mandatory questionnaire sent to basketball coaches throughout the state last fall. He said 66 percent of those assistant and head coaches at middle and high school levels are in favor of implementing a shot clock.

Several coaches support the measure after watching teams attempt to hold the ball for more than a minute at the end of quarters to take the final shot.

“I’m in favor of it,” said Central Kitsap coach Scott McMinds, who completed his first season with the Cougars after spending the previous 10 at Klahowya. “It’s kind of frustrating and aggravating to play a team that holds the ball a minute at a time. People come to watch basketball, not stalling.”

Georgia’s Savannah Morning News described a game in 2007 where a team with the lead held the ball for nearly 10 minutes. In addition to being “boring,” North Kitsap coach Tony Chisholm said it doesn’t prepare players for the collegiate game, which uses a 35-second shot clock.

“I honestly think it’s time to step that up and give high school kids a chance to see how the college game goes,” he said. “I think it’s a great experience.”

Eight states use shot clocks, including Washington, which has used a 30-second one for girls basketball since the 1970s.

South Kitsap coach John Callaghan took his team to a tournament in 1999 in Loomis, Calif., where they used a 35-second clock.

“It never really came into play,” he said.

Callaghan said the shot clock would add “a little strategy” at the end of the game, but he feels stalling tactics aren’t as boring as some believe.

“Taking care of the ball is an art in itself,” he said. “It’s not easy to run the clock. Your ball handling has to be pretty good.”

The potential change was met with mixed reactions among the Wolves.

“Coach Callaghan is going to be devastated,” said South senior forward Mike Longmire, laughing. “He likes to grind it out. He’s going to be hating life next year.”

But teammate Leon La Deaux, a junior, likes the potential change.

“I think a shot clock could benefit the game,” he said. “It would prepare people more for college, and I think it would pick up the pace of the game. Sometimes we get too patient and I think it would cause us to be more aggressive.”

If the proposal passes, Colbrese said the Representative Assembly must decide whether the shot clock should be 30, 35 or 45 seconds.

He said the fact that area high schools won’t have to install shot clocks could be an important factor for voters.

“That’s one thing that keeps other state associations for voting for it,” he said.

Other significant proposed amendments at the meeting include requiring a running clock in basketball if a 40-point differential occurs and the same for football if there’s a 45-point margin, and adding girls lacrosse to WIAA-sanctioned sports.

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