1-3-1 Continuity Zone Offense With Counters

Here is a zone continuity offense against a 1-3-1 zone defense with two variations.  Below the zone offenses, there are some counters and actions that you can use to score more points.  Jim Huber used this offense when coaching a 17u team in the Nike EYBL.  With this offense, there are plenty of fill and replace actions.  This tends to pull defenders out of position and then replace the opening with an offensive player.  If you teach your players how to mix up the timing of their cuts, use pass fakes, make fakes on their cuts, and cut to open spots on the floor, it can be highly effective. The first version of the offense rotates the 3, 4, and 5 through the wing, short corner, and post positions. The second version is a variation for teams who want to keep a specific player in the post while 3 and 4 rotate through the short corner and wing positions.
This is the initial formation against the 1-3-1 zone.
Frame 1
1 passes to 3. 5 cuts to the short corner. 4 cuts to the high post.
Frame 2
3 passes to 1.  Then 3 cuts to replace 5 in the short corner. 1 passes to 2. 5 cuts to the opposite wing. 4 fills the high post.
Frame 3
2 passes to 5. 4 cuts to short corner. 3 fills high post.
Frame 4
5 reverses the ball and the continuity continues.
Frame 5
Variation: In this variation, 5 doesn't cut to the short corner.  5 continues to work the mid to high post area. 3 and 4 interchange between the wings and the short corner. 1 passes to 3. 5 cuts to mid post. 4 cuts to opposite short corner.
Frame 6
3 passes to 1.  1 passes to 2. 3 fills short corner. 4 cuts to opposite wing. 5 fills the high post.
Frame 7
2 passes to 4. 3 cuts to opposite short corner. 5 cuts to the mid post. The same pattern continues.
Frame 8
Delayed Short Corner A variation is to delay the short corner cut.  Simply, changing the timing can confuse the defense for a split second. If x5 sees that 3 is not initially cutting, they might cheat towards 5 or the ball. Even if x5 is properly positioned, it might give 3 a chance to seal and gain position for a post entry.  3 might fake high, then cut low or vice versa.
Frame 9
Pin Screen: This can be a great complement to the delayed short corner or used by itself. 1 sets a pin screen on x1. 2 cuts to a spot in between x1 and x2's coverage.  4 passes to 2.
Frame 10
Double Pin Screen: Instead of cutting across the lane to the short corner, 3 initiates the action by trying to gain position on x2 in the post area. 3 is trying to gain position for a lob entry. As this happens, 1 sets a pin screen on x1. It's critical that 4 fakes a pass to 3.  This will create misdirection and preoccupy x2. 4 passes to 2.
Frame 11
High Post Entry Counter If you get the ball into the high post, most 1-3-1 zone defenses are taught to collapse and force the ball out.  At times, you will have multiple players around the player in the high post.  If you face a defense that does this, this could be a good option for you.  It's also beneficial for your high post player to be a good passer. 3 & 5 cut to the low post area.  This occupies x2 and x5. 1 cuts to the lane.  4 passes to 1. This can result in a lay up or jump shot in the lane.
Frame 12
If x1 defends 1's cut, 2 can also fill an open spot and get a wide open perimeter look. To create more space and time for 2, 4 should pivot to seal x4 on their backside and pass the ball to 2.  The pass and the seal from 4 almost happens at the same time.
Frame 13
Hopefully, that gives you some ideas on how to beat a 1-3-1 zone defense. If you have other ideas and questions, please share below.


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robert anderson says:
2/16/2018 at 11:12:15 PM

thanks for the info. i am always looking for new ways to attack the 1-3-1 zone.


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