High School Basketball 3 Point Shot

Think about your favorite parts of the high school basketball game.  If you’re team is so athletically inclined, there’s the dunk.  Always a crowd favorite.  We have to include the block, a defensive show of force that delivers a mental blow as much as a physical one.  Of course the steal and the sweet pass is right up there.  Today’s game however would not be the same without the 3 point shot.  When a prep basketball athlete rains 3′s down  from behind the arc (sometimes, way behind the arc), it’s crippling to the defense and their fans.  A three pointer to end the game with a close score will literally cause the gym to explode.  Let’s look at the history, need, and impact of the 3 pointer on the high school game.

We like to think of our high school sports as bedrock…never really changing from generation to generation and for the most part, that’s true.  Your Grandfather’s prep basketball game is the same as your aside from the longer shorts (Thank goodness for change).  There are pretty revolutionary changes that do come around now and then but they’re few and far between.  One such change happened to Pro, college, and most importantly to our discussion, high school basketball.  It was the advent of the 3 point shot.  Let’s take a look at why it was brought about and how it changed the game.

The NBA brought about the 3 pointer during the 1980 season.  College and high school soon followed during the 80s but at different distances for the arc.  First, the basics.  When a player shoots behind the 3 point arc which for the high school game is 19′ 9″ from the basket.  If a player makes the shot behind the arc, he or she is awarded 3 points instead of the usual 2 points.  If the person is fouled and makes the shot, there is then the potential for a 4 point play (assuming the foul shot is also made).  If the player does not make the 3 point shot, he or she can take 3 foul shots if fouled in the act of shooting from behind the arc. So why would the high school basketball sport allow 3 point shots which increase the score by 50% versus making a shot 1 foot (or 1 inch) inside the 3 point arc?

Anyone who’s played basketball can tell you that more room will equal more scoring.  There’s more room to drive, more room to pass, and more room to operate in the key without another defender crowding you out.  The mere threat of the 3 point shot tends to pull the guards out further to the arc and stetch the defense more.  If you have a 3 point shooter on your high school team (and most teams do these days), the defense has to respect this weapon and the defender (or zone) needs to stretch outwards.  This frees up the interior to run plays to the post and around the floor.  The other thing it does is to balance scoring.  As basketball became a war of attrition to get the biggest and strongest inside players who would camp by the basket (think of Shaq or Dwight Howard now), establishing the 3 point arc would reward the pure shooter.  Basketball was in danger of just becoming one on one in paint while the other players let them go to work.  That’s not the case now with the 3 point shot.  Not only did the 3 point shot reward shooting, it created more scoring and probably more importantly, more excitement for the fans.

Although there was some controversy with the original 3 point shot roll-out, it’s now a fixture of the high school basketball game and everyone’s pretty much on board.

Be Sociable, Share!

No comments so far

Leave a Reply