New Jersey high school girls’ basketball differs from many other states due to several criteria. Since northern New Jersey borders New York, teams from NJ and NY sometimes play against each other in independent games.
Any fan who has seen both teams from NJ and NY play would notice the one most obvious difference as soon as he/she begins watching a game: NY plays with a shot clock; NJ does not.
NJ has resisted the use of the shot clock for many years, primarily due to the fact that most schools’ budgets cannot accommodate such a change. This fee would include the purchase of a shot clock for each basketball hoop, installing the shot clock, and then teaching someone how to use it at the table. In many cases it would require having an additional person at the score table to man it.
For the older basketball hoops that cannot have a shot clock installed on them, it would mean the school would need to purchase an entirely new basketball hoop system.
During such a difficult state of economy, it is impossible for most school systems to think about this type of change.
The need to include a shot clock in games would be to get NJ up-to-date with other states and to help prepare players for the college level, which includes use of the shot clock.
Colleen Taylor played her high school freshman year at Paramus Catholic. This year, as a sophomore, she is playing for Tappan Zee High School in NY. Therefore, Colleen has experienced both the game with and without the shot clock.
Colleen says, “The shot clock effects games if the teams are really good. If the game is very competitive and the defense is very hard, it can be difficult to play with the shot clock. You are trying to find a way to get around them and the shot clock puts another pressure on you.”
The shot clock would change the game in other ways too. Sometimes teams in New Jersey who have difficulty playing against a zone defense will hold the ball, forcing the other team to come out and play them. With the shot clock, this would not be possible. Some teams also run offenses that involve cutting, passing, and running off as much time as possible before their first shot. This too would need to change. Many teams also use delay of game strategies to hold the ball off at the end. The shot clock would not permit this. Additionally, many teams foul to stop the clock, but if the shot clock is about to be violated, it would not be necessary for teams to foul and risk sending an opponent to the foul line.
Colleen also said, “Most of the time 30 seconds feels like a lot on the basketball court. It’s rare to go over the time limit.” This means that Colleen was able to adjust to this faster type of play quickly.
Many teams in New Jersey try to slow down the game when they are winning by a lot because it is considered unsportsmanlike to push the ball up the court.
One coach in Rockland County said, “We actually have a slow full court play to run when we are up by a lot. This way we use up most of the time on the shot clock before shooting. Sometimes we even let the clock run out.” He also said, “Just as New Jersey girls’ high school teams are expected not to score when they are up by a lot, we are expected not to score until we are under five seconds on the shot clock.”
In terms of scoring, Colleen feels the shot clock, “makes things more equal, but at the same time in a tough situation, the shot clock can decide the game.”