High school girls basketball players across the state hoping to play at the next level will get a glimpse at what collegiate ball is like when they step onto the court this season.
The New York State Girls Basketball Officials Association, Inc. passed a series of rule changes — including a shortened shot clock and discontinued 1-and-1 foul shooting — that will now coincide with rules of the NCAA.
The changes will be in effect through the 2016-17 season.
The most significant change includes awarding a team two free throws once an opponent commits its fifth common foul of the period.
In the past, teams would shoot one foul shot upon their opponent’s seventh common foul of the half, and then be granted a second free throw if the shot was successful. Teams would automatically shoot two free throws after their opponent reached 10 common fouls.
Coaches will now have to completely revamp the way they handle late-game situations.
“It’s impacted us in how much time we spend shooting free throws,” said North Rockland head coach Kevin Metcalf, who noted the Red Raiders have doubled their free-throw shooting drills during the preseason. “We want to identify in games as quickly as we can, who can’t shoot (on the opposing team).”
Fouling players late in the game has become a go-to strategy for coaches at all levels in both the men’s and women’s game. The ability the stop the game clock and get the ball back, while possibly sacrificing just one point — or none at all — has proved to be instrumental when mounting a comeback.
The rule change will likely lead to higher scoring and longer game times.
“I can do without them, truth be told,” first-year New Rochelle head coach Bob Bynum said of the new rules. “The five fouls and you’re shooting double bonus is a little bit much.”
Although in his first year at the helm of a varsity program, Bynum spent the past decade as Bruce Daniele’s assistant before taking over.
“You want to get in the bonus in the first quarter. Now, you start off with zero (team fouls) every quarter,” Bynum said. “It’s a little bit of an adjustment, but I prefer it to be the other way.”
Of course, there are some positive ways of looking at the rule changes.
Girls who eventually go on to play college ball will be faced with this style of play when they get there, so why not start acclimating all players to it now?
Section 1 already has at least four girls — Ossining senior Shadeen Samuels (Seton Hall), North Rockland senior Gabby Cajou (Manhattan), New Rochelle senior Kayla Correa (Coppin State), and Ursuline junior Korina Guerra (Sacred Heart) — committed to play Division I basketball within the next two years.
“I think it’ll be good,” Mount Vernon head coach Ayo Hart said. “We have so many kids who come from this section and go on and play collegiate basketball, that I think anything that prepares them for what they’re going to have to do in the NCAA is good.”
Hart said she thinks it will take a one-year trial run for coaches, players, and even officials to adjust.
As part of the new rules, teams will now have the option to inbound the ball at halfcourt following a timeout call, regardless of their position on the court when the timeout is called. Previously, teams would have to advance the ball to their side of the court in order to have the ball at halfcourt following a timeout.
Much like the change in free throws, this rule will play a major role late in games for trailing teams.
The rationale, according to the NYSGBOA, is to “reward the defense and to prevent the offense from gaining an advantage that is not intended by rule.”
One rule coaches seem to be on board with is defensive post players now being allowed to put a bent arm, or an “arm bar” as some call it, on an offensive player. Metcalf and Hart said the rule was how they were taught during their own playing days.
“We’ve had a lot of ‘fun’ — I say in quotes — working on the hand-checking because (North Rockland senior center) Pam (Miceus) is big for putting a hand on somebody,” Metcalf said. “They don’t realize it until you blow the whistle 16 times in about two or three minutes how much it is.
“Personally, I like it because it’s basketball the way I remembered growing up.”