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PostPosted: 14 Mar 2017, 13:19 

Posts: 2
Just ended our middle school season with a heartbreaking loss.

We were up by 2 with 3.6 seconds to play. My post player at the free throw line shooting 1 and 1. He was 2 for 10 prior.

I decided to have all my players go back on defense - I didn't want them to commit a stupid foul. My player missed the free throw, opponent took it to the sideline and at half court, threw up a prayer and banked in a 3 pointer as the buzzer sounded.

Question: should I have stacked the blocks and gone for the rebound on the free throw? Should I have had my guys play further up the floor and pressed?

I felt confident that I made the right call but of course I had one parent barking at me after the game that we should have pressed.

Thanks for any feedback.

PostPosted: 14 Mar 2017, 16:39 

Posts: 900
First of all, that's a heck of a lucky shot on the other team's part. Secondly, there will always be an arm chair QB (including us) to tell you what they would have done in that situation.

So, I'll be an arm chair QB for a few, easy for me because I know the outcome of the 3.6 seconds. If you had a timeout, I would have used it then and gone over the, "what happens if the post player misses it?" scenario. Two guys on the blocks for rebounds because you never know which way that ball will bounce. If they get the rebound, they secure and hold it. Take the other two and put them before half court to slow the ball handler down. The key is just getting in front of their ball handler enough to make those 3.6 seconds tick off, no need to try and block the shot.

All good as long as your players understand slowing someone down vs. getting aggressive and fouling. Sounds like you thought your players might commit a foul. You know your players better than anyone, so it's easy for us or a parent to say, "you should have...".

Again, seems like a pretty luck shot, plus I didn't know people still counted bank shots, especially from half-court. ; )

EDIT: As a side note, this is a great example of pressure drills we'd do in practice at the middle school levels. Creating scenarios like the one you were in and letting it play out, then critiquing. Your team is down by 2, ball at the other end and you have X amount of seconds. FT situations up or down in score. Actual scenarios that could happen in a game. No way you'll cover every possible scenario, but it can help train the kids to keep calm and give some frame of reference if it comes up in a game.


PostPosted: 14 Mar 2017, 18:31 

Posts: 2
Thanks Coach Rob.

Good advice - yes the fear of my guys fouling and the fact that we only had one ref (as you probably know middle school officiating can be pretty unreliable and of course we were missing one) and this ref was calling everything whether he saw it or not made me very leery of putting any type of pressure or even guarding the other team in those last seconds.

We'll for sure spend time next season on the last second scenarios, that is something I of course always had in the back of mind but never seemed to find the time to run through them.

The only positive is that the player that hit that shot will probably remember it for the rest of his life and my guys hopefully have already forgotten about it.

Thanks again for the feedback,


PostPosted: 15 Mar 2017, 20:08 

Posts: 26
Fluke play. The longer I coach, the more I realize that people LOVE to do the armchair qb thing. They love to second guess us.

I also understand why many coaches over the years had a chip on their shoulder. It is to make sure people are aware that they can be advised to STFU at a moments notice. Barking at you after the game is ridiculous. And I would tell them so.

Good luck.

PostPosted: 28 Mar 2017, 22:27 

Posts: 3
You made the safest call that you could have in that situation.

PostPosted: 09 May 2017, 00:34 

Posts: 2
I think you made the right call coach.

I had a similar situation last summer with my 7th Grade Girls.. up by 1,2 seconds left, and our point guard at the free throw line shooting 2. She missed both free throws, and dove for the loose ball off the rim. A foul was called on her and the other team was in the bonus shooting a 1-1. Needless to say she made both and handed us an L at the AYBT Nationals.

Hindsight is 20-20..

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