Defending The Short Corner - 2-3 Zone Defense

One of the biggest threats to a zone defense is the short corner.

A good offense can score multiple ways from the short corner…

  1. Immediate attack to the hoop from the short corner.
  2. Pass to a cutter… especially the high post player diving to the basket.
  3. Kick out to a wide open shooter.

If you don’t properly defend the short corner, it can be one of the major reasons you lose.

In the video clip from Al Marshall's Aggressive 2-3 Zone Defense "The Defense Your Opponents Will Hate!", he takes you through the situation with the ball in the short corner.

Coach Al Marshall shows you how to properly defend the short corner. He shows you defensive techniques that will lead to poor passes. Poor passes will lead to more turnovers, more time to rotate and defend shooters, and low percentage shots for the offense.


Solutions and Resources:

Al Marshall's Aggressive 2-3 Zone Defense - "The Defense Your Opponents Will Hate!"

6 Zone Defense Tips

How Do You Handle Slow Players In The Back Of Your Zone Defense?

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Coach says:
7/31/2018 at 4:04:05 PM

How I interpret the short corner is covered:

They aren't necessarily trapping the short corner unless the ball is dribbled. They try to deter the ball from going to the short corner.

If the ball gets to the SC the forward is already falling back to cover and the center kind of just steps out a little bit but is also aware of a high post offensive player dropping down. The weak side guard is also trying to get in front of the high post.

If the short corner player dribbles the center then needs to get out further, cut off the dribble and trap with the forward while the weak side guard is fronting and the other guard positions himself to cover any pass out.

Is this thinking correct?


Simon says:
1/14/2016 at 10:36:58 PM

I don't think I would enter the short corner from the wing, in fact, we never do. We bring our PG to the wing spot with the dribble and "push down" our wing to the corner. Pass to the corner and the bottom wing defender has to come out, thats when we have 1 man in short corner and the other mid-post. That puts the center in a tough spot. if the top guard drops to cover mid post (which it looks that that's what you would do here and is probably the best thing to do) we use the mid post man to pin the defender (the guard that dropped hard and denied the pass) in the lane and the ball goes back to the wing (PG) and he has a LOT of room to attack and go to work.


Silky Smooth says:
1/13/2016 at 12:24:39 PM

They cover three pointers against shown offensive spacing. Against that spacing I would even move the defensive weakside fordward more a up to really take away the weakside wing three pointer. That is due to suboptimal offensive spacing, not to supreme defense.

You don't take a three away playing 4 defenders on the ballside and one defender vs. 2 attackers on the weakside. No chance.

The real point why zones are effective...

..besides letting em shoot, not having a high percentage..

IS suboptimal offensive timing.

You outnumber the offense in the area between the ball and the rim and they're are not getting anything done their.
Now they try to move the ball elsewhere where the offense should have numbers advantage...and they have.
BUT only for as long as the defenders shift over...1 or 2 seconds. And nobody get's this timing down consistently.


Silky Smooth says:
1/11/2016 at 4:47:57 PM

He cheats on the demonstration.
The short corner is only open if the forward covers the wing (about ftl extended). If he isn't really guarding the wing, like in the demonstration, he can simply deny the short corner. End of ball game.

Plus, offensive spacing is not optimal. PG at top should be more at swing spot/slot and weakside wing more to the corner. Swing the ball the ball weakside, three, three, three..
End of ball game.

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
1/13/2016 at 8:15:32 AM

Yes ideally you keep the ball from getting in the short corner. Agreed. But the bottom line is it will get there since many zone offenses use movement and reversals to create open passing lanes as the defense shifts.

As far as covering the 3pt shot on the reversal, that is always a threat. That's why Coach Marshall spends so much time on high hands and moving on the flight of the ball. I have seen their teams play and even though that shot might seem open, they cover it up incredibly well. Scouting can also come into play as you may shade certain shooters and leave others open.


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