If you are a fan of Logan County high school basketball you know that Logan, Chapmanville and Man often like to push the tempo.
Whether it’s in the transition game, or with lots of ball movement and 3-point shooting, the Hillbillies, Tigers and Wildcats like to keep the pace up.
All three teams would be suited for a 35-second high school shot clock if it were ever implemented.
It’s a topic which has been talked about for years.
It surfaced again recently, however, the National Federation of State High School Associations rejected a proposal to establish a 35-second shot clock.
The rules committee also turned down a plan to allow state organizations such as the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission, Ohio High School Athletic Association and Kentucky High School Athletic Association to adopt a shot clock on their own.
The National Federation establishes rules for all high school sports.
“Information was given to the Basketball Rules Committee that shared the votes in individual states on how coaches and officials voted in support of or non-support of the shot clock rule,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Basketball Rules Committee. “The conversation among the committee members explored the pros and cons of enacting the proposal as a rule for all states and likewise for state adoption. The committee will continue to explore the shot clock issue.”
College basketball operates with a 30-second shot clock. The NBA and WNBA use a 24-second shot clock.
One of the main reasons for the rejection was finances.
Simply put, many high school gyms across the country still do not have shot clocks. Not a problem, however, in Logan County as Logan’s Willie Akers Arena, the Billies’ Man Memorial Fieldhouse and Chapmanville’s Danny Godby Gymnasium, all have shot clock boxes. One other issue is that an extra official would be be needed to run the shot clock.
“I think those are huge factors with the Federation,” Chapmanville coach Brad Napier said. “But I think that it will make the game much better and better for the fans. It was also make it a lot more fun for the kids. It makes the game faster and the pace of the game speeds up. This is something that a lot of the coaches have pushed for the last four or five years.”
Napier’s Tigers, which won two straight Class AA state championships and closed out this year 22-2 and ranked No. 1 in the state before the season was prematurely shut down, would be well suited to play using the shot clock.
Chapmanville always seems to play at a high pace.
It’s like they are already playing with a phantom shot clock. Same goes for Man and Logan.
Napier said the shot clock also rewards good defensive teams.
“It also rewards really good defensive teams and a lot of people don’t know this,” Napier said. “If you can guard for 30 or 35 seconds really well then you can force them into a bad shot and get the ball back. It makes the flow of the game have more rhythm where sometimes it does not. A lot of the coaches arguments is that it gives the more talented teams and advantage but not really, because if you are a great defensive team you only have to guard for 30 seconds and that makes the other team have to force up a shot with about four or five seconds on the shot clock.”
The shot clock rule would presumably hurt slower paced teams that like to run a more deliberate style of offense.
With only 35 seconds, that does not leave much time for walking the ball up court.
“You can’t really walk it across the half court time,” Napier said.
Chapmanville actually had some experience with the shot clock this past season.
Back on Jan. 3, the Tigers played Class AAA Wheeling Park at Wheeling’s WesBanco Arena in the Cancer Research Classic. A 35-second shot clock was used as the Tigers won 61-48 over the eventual state tourney bound Patriots.
“We played with a shot clock when we played Wheeling Park this year, in the Cancer Research tourney,” Napier said. “Our kids really loved it. I was not 100 percent sure until we played with a shot clock. We also practiced three or four days leading up to that game with a shot clock.”
Napier also said having a shot clock would help eventual college bound players.
“It would help them,” Napier said. “It just make the game a whole lot better. You don’t have to worry about teams holding the ball.”
On the girls’ side, Logan High School Lady Cats’ coach Kevin Gertz seemed somewhat indifferent about the matter.
“I’ve never really thought about it,” Gertz said. “I’d say it would help speed the game up some and would definitely change some strategy.”
Chapmanville Regional girls’ coach Johnny Williamson said he would be for it, adding that the 35-second shot clock would be no different to the girls’ players.
“I’m for the 35-second shot clock,” Williamson said. “It would speed up the game I think. It would also change how you coach and would stop teams from holding the ball all of the fourth quarter. I believe it would help the better players stay out of foul trouble. You wouldn’t need to foul and stop the clock.”