The defensive stand was dramatic.
Lone Tree’s boys basketball team, playing for the first time this season, was in a battle against BGM in its preseason opener last Friday. The Lions had …
The defensive stand was dramatic.
Lone Tree’s boys basketball team, playing for the first time this season, was in a battle against BGM in its preseason opener last Friday. The Lions had whittled a 14-point deficit to two points with just a couple of minutes remaining in the game.
In the Iowa basketball of the past, BGM may have just held the ball and watched the clock tick down on a victory.
The rules have changed.
Iowa’s adoption of a 35-second shot clock means you can’t sit on a lead anymore.
“Last year, they could have held the ball for two minutes,” Lone Tree coach Tom Squiers said. “Then you’ve got to foul and hope they miss free throws. Well, this way, you can say, ‘Hey, you know what, hold it for 35 seconds, get a stop and we’re going to get the ball back.’”
The Lions nearly pulled it off.
Lone Tree’s strong defensive stand stopped BGM from getting a shot off. The shot clock ticked down, 9-8-7-6, and desperation set in. Finally, with five seconds left, a move toward the basket resulted in a Lone Tree foul.
The Lions lost by two, 47-45.
And players on both sides learned a valuable lesson they can take into this regular season featuring a major change in both boys and girls basketball.
Highland girls basketball coach Jody Fink said the Huskies got into overtime Saturday night at Iowa Valley because Iowa Valley was unable to hold the ball for the last three minutes of regulation while clinging to a six-point lead.
The signs of a new era in Iowa basketball are everywhere.
At Mid-Prairie, during a 5-on-5 drill during practice, a high-pitched buzzer echoes through the gym when players running a set play on offense are out of time after the defense puts up a great stand. The shot clock could work out perfectly for the Golden Hawks, who were one of the top defensive teams in the state last year.
At Lone Tree last week, temporary shot clocks were positioned on the wall and a separate person sitting at the scoring table pushed a button to reset the clock every time the ball hit the rim or changed possession.
Once installed, the new permanent shot clocks (which were donated by Wake Forest men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes, a Lone Tree graduate) will be installed above the backboard and the clocks will be fully integrated into the clock system at the scoring table.
It will clearly change the high school game in Iowa. Fans will stand up and scream as the shot clock winds down on an opposing team desperately looking to take a shot. Think Iowa football at Kinnick Stadium when the opposing team’s quarterback can’t bark out his signals loudly enough to overcome the noise.
Coaches will be shouting for timeouts as the shot clock winds toward :00.
“I’ve always been a proponent of the shot clock,” Squiers said. “We’ve always tried to play it fast.”
This is really a good thing. It brings Iowa in line with, well, just about every other level of basketball being played in the land. It’ll drum up excitement for team defenses. It’ll likely speed up the game.
And the last two minutes? Everything changes now.
“I think the strategy changes a little bit when you have a lead,” said Squiers, who has been basketball coach at Lone Tree for 35 years. “You have a 7- or 8-minute lead with two minutes left, that used to be extremely hard to come from, where now, 35-second shot (clock), I think those things are possible.”
Buckle your seat belts.
This could be a wild and glorious ride.
News columnist Paul Bowker can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @bowkerpaul.