High school basketball season expanded to 22 games

| December 4, 2012

The high school basketball season will contain more games thanks to a decision made by the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors.

By a 5-4 vote, the board approved a proposal from the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association to allow member schools to play up to 22 regular-season basketball games beginning this season.

The additional games will not mean an extension to the season, however. The boy’s season began Nov. 30 with sectional tournament play starting the week of Feb. 18, 2013. Girls play started Nov. 23 and sectionals start Feb. 11, 2013.

“I wasn’t a fan of it as a coach but we’re doing it,” said Ridgewood’s Alan Keesee, who also serves as the district’s athletics director. “As an A.D., you like it because there is a chance for one or two more games and that translates into some added revenue.

“I don’t care for the fact that they’re not lengthening the season at the end of the year and I don’t like having to play three games in a week. I’ve never been a fan of Friday and Saturday games but I know a lot of coaches love it.

“You talk to the old-school guys and they’ll tell you that’s how they did it but in terms of preparation, it’s hard because you’re playing teams on back-to-back nights. As coach, if they were going to extend the season, I’d be all for a 22-game season.”

Coshocton High School boys basketball coach Tom Hilgenberg has a differing point of view.

“I think the 22 games are okay. I like the two extra games because I’d rather play than practice but I also think the season lasts too long,” he said. “It’s just a matter of opinion but I feel the regular season should be over at the end of January.

“The season is long enough. There’s a time in January where it becomes grind. You have to get real creative for about week and a half.”

Hilgenberg believes the driving force behind the expansion was so schools could travel out of state for games that showcased their teams and/or players.

According to WTNS-Radio Sports Director, Tom Thompson, the last time the number of games was increased came in the 1979-80 season, going from an 18-game schedule to 20.

Thompson added that WTNS also stands to benefit from the expansion from a revenue standpoint.

“We’ve added five games to our broadcast schedule,” he said.

That also opens the door for area high schools to add an attractive game package.

“Maybe down the road we’ll try to do some things with it like a holiday tournament or something like that,” Keesee said.

In another note of interest, the implementation of a shot clock was shot down in Ohio.

Although a shot clock has been employed at the college level for many years, results of a questionnaire that is sent to coaches, officials and state association administrators across the country did not indicate a strong desire to use the clock at the high school level.

“In addition to the fact that there is some concern about the costs associated with the use of a shot clock, the committee also expressed a belief that the game is typically played with an up-tempo style even without a shot clock,” said Kent Summers, director of performing arts and sports at the NFHS.

“In addition, the committee believes that coaches should have the option of a slower-paced game if they believe it makes their team more competitive in specific situations. This could be especially true for smaller schools with limited budgets. Since the NFHS writes rules for all sizes of schools and teams, it has to consider what is best for the masses.”

The committee did approve one minor rule change requiring the official scorer to wear a black and white-striped jersey in order to become more visible to the game officials.

According to the NFHS, a 2010-11 High School Athletics Participation Survey found that basketball is the second-most popular sport for girls and third-most popular for boys at the high school level. All told, 438,933 girls and 545,844 boys participated nationwide.

The sport ranks first in school sponsorship of teams with 17,767 schools sponsoring the sport for girls and 18,150 sponsoring the sport for boys.

Category: High School

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