Bob Hurley's National Championship
Sideline Play

Recently, I watched an HBO documentary called "Prayer for the Perfect Season." The documentary was about a basketball team coached by Kevin Boyle at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth who was competing for the national high school championship.

During the documentary, St. Patrick who is #1 in the nation faces off against St. Anthony's who is #2 in the nation during the New Jersey high school playoffs. St. Anthony's is also coached by the legendary Bob Hurley. During the game, Hurley runs a sideline play late in the game that was a start of a huge momentum swing that led to St. Anthony's victory and eventual national championship.

Bob Hurley's sideline play is a great play with many scoring options. Take a look below and let us know what you think.

The players start in a box set.

5 sets a flare screen for 4.

3 sets a flare screen for 2.

After the screens 3 & 5 open up to the ball. 1 passes to 3.
After the pass, 1 cuts off of 3 for a dribble hand off.
1 attacks the basket as 5 sets a back screen for 3.

1 passes to 3 if open.

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


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Thomas Smith says:
12/2/2014 at 11:27:19 AM

I was at this game at the RAC (Rutgers Athletic Center). Hurley was emphatic about his point guard getting foul line extended with the ball before calling time out to set up the play (so they would have correct spacing). The layup set St. Anthony's on incredible run out scoring St. Pat's 24-4 after this play. It is one I will always remember. BTW: They announced that it was the largest crowd ever to see a NJ High School Basketball Game. Our half court seat 10 rows up were $5 each!!

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
12/2/2014 at 12:43:07 PM

Thomas, I am jealous. Must've been fun to see that one!

Knowing the exact spot you want the ball when you call the timeout for proper spacing on the inbounds play... one of the many reasons Coach Hurley has had such success.


Joe Haefner says:
11/18/2011 at 11:23:45 AM

Coach Blue, you can certainly pass the ball to anybody that is open. If 2 and 4 are wide open off of the flare screen, pass the ball to them. If 5 is wide open after setting the screen, pass the ball to him.

Your options for running the play sound good to me. You could also have 5 flash to the ball and hit 3 on a backdoor cut since he is being fronted on the inbounds pass.

I always like to tell my players that a play is an opportunity to score. Don't forget to play basketball. Overplayed - cut backdoor.


Joe Haefner says:
11/18/2011 at 11:17:44 AM

Thanks for bringing that up, Steve. We ran a play similar to this last year and we didn't seem to have any issues with the helpside defense. When you run this play at full speed, you'll see that 2 & 4's defenders are occupied by trying to recover off of the flare screen.

Also, if 2 and 4's defenders commit to the other side of the floor, 2 and 4 or somebody else will be wide open.

If you feel more comfortable, you can have 2 & 4 exchange spots as soon as the ball is inbounded.


steve says:
11/18/2011 at 11:11:43 AM

I hope you have something for 2 and 4 to be doing to occupy the helpside defense?


Paul says:
11/17/2011 at 4:17:52 PM

I watched that special and noted how great that particular plan was effective in that game


Coach Blue says:
11/17/2011 at 3:20:05 PM

Seems simple and effective (assuming the D is in man). With only one inbound option, though, what to do if 3 is being fronted ... should he cut higher to get the ball (but that would make the handoff/upscreen less effective), or could have the 2 flash high to catch (since the likely reason why 3 isn't opn is because 2's defender stayed with him on the screen), and have 2 pass back to 1, and start the handoff/screen action that way? Either way ... it seems like it should work with good cutting. Thanks!


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