Tick, tock: Does high school basketball need a shot clock?

Shot clocks are everywhere in professional and college basketball. But they?re still the exception and not the rule in high school basketball.

A recent article in the Wichita Eagle suggested that shot clocks won?t be used in Kansas anytime soon.

Shot clocks have been used in the NBA since the 1950s. Women?s college basketball started using them in the 1970s and the men in the mid-1980s.

Reportedly, at least seven states use a shot clock in high school. Justin Flet?schock, assistant executive director of the North Dakota High School Activities Association, said that in 2000, coaches in the state?s biggest class insisted on it because, ?play had gotten quite stagnant.

?A lot of low-scoring games, especially in the state tournament,? seemed to be the leading cause for change, according to Fletschock.

Many Kansas high school coaches also seem to favor the shot clock, saying it would prepare their athletes to play in college. Ironically, two of the better Wichita City League teams played a game in February in which Southeast held the ball near midcourt for nearly five minutes in the second quarter, while Heights was content to sit back on defense.

Those in favor of a high school shot clock favor speeding up the flow of the game, especially late in games when teams leading can stall and wait to be fouled.

Some say change is needed because Kansas is behind the times.

A team with good guard play can dictate the tempo, even if it isn?t as talented overall as the opposing team.

Those of you old enough to remember the No. 1-ranked Hillsboro team in 1972 know what I?m talking about. This was the high school version of the deflategate.

Hesston took the air out of the ball by dribbling, passing the ball and playing keep away, which led to a monumental upset. Hillsboro had size and speed and liked to run-and-gun, but Hesston wouldn?t allow it.

The loss prevented the Trojans from making it to the state tournament, which had seemed like a lock.

Alas, the Swathers were talented enough to hold the ball for long periods of time and frustrate the Trojans. It should also be noted that Hillsboro let Hesston hang on to the ball without much resistance during the first half.

Would a shot clock have changed the outcome of that game? I think so, but we?ll never know for sure.

The main argument against a shot clock in high school basketball is the cost of the clocks and the ongoing cost of paying someone to run the clock.

As a former and longtime high school basketball official, I believe the use of a shot clock could be problematic. Controversy is likely when officials and shot clock operators try to determine when the clock should be reset, and unlike professional and major college basketball, there are no monitors available to review the play.

But what?s a little more controversy among friends?

I would also maintain that in the majority of games I officiated, most high school teams either took a shot or turned the ball over in 30 seconds.

The use of a shot clock favors the more talented team and could reduce the number of upsets, because the more possessions that teams have in a game, the more likely the more athletic team will win.

Is that a bad thing? Not if you have the more skilled team.

The shot clock, like the three-point line, will likely be added in high school basketball eventually. For older Hillsboro fans with long memories, though, it will be about 50 years too late.


Everyone loves a winner, unless it?s someone who wants to buy tickets the year after that winner has appeared in two World Series, winning one of them.

The Royals estimate that 93 percent of the lower-level seats between the foul poles have been sold to season-ticket holders in 2016. That leaves just a few hundred seats in the lower level available for single-game tickets at Kauffman Stadium.

In other words, you can expect to sit in the nosebleed section in the upper deck this summer, unless you have connections.

Hillsboro resident Joe Klein?sasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. He can be reached at Joe.Klein?sasser@wichita.edu.

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