Picket Fence Play

This play often causes confusion for defenses, leading to easy baskets. It is particularly effective if you have a dominant point guard. It features an unbalanced court, a couple of screens, and plenty of movement.


Player 1 should be a dominant ball handler and a good decision maker. Player 2 should be a good ball handler, an excellent passer, and a good shooter. Player 3 should be a good shooter. Players 4 and 5 should be good screeners and rebounders.


  1. Player 1 goes one-on-one against the defender, all the way to the hoop if possible. The other players line up along the opposite lane line in the order indicated. Note that Player 3 is between Players 4 and 5. If defenders come over to help on Player 1, then passing opportunities to players open for close shots become available.
   picket_fence1 (1K)

  1. If Player 1 cannot beat the defender for an easy shot, then he reverses the ball to Player 2 who has popped up high at the top of the key. Player 3 steps back, and Players 4 an 5 step close together to provide a screen for Player 3.
   picket_fence2 (1K)

  1. Player 2 delivers a pass to Player 3 for a short shot. Player 1 sets a screen for Player 5.
   picket_fence3 (1K)

  1. If Player 3 is not open, Player 5 uses Player 1's screen on the low side and moves to the weak side. Player 1 cuts out to the strong side three-point line.
   picket_fence4 (1K)

  1. Finally, Player 4 sets a high-side screen for Player 3, who uses it to cut into the key for a pass. Player 4 opens up to the ball after Player 3 goes by. If nothing has opened up by this time, you are playing an extremely good defensive team!
   picket_fence5 (1K)

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Nupe3 says:
10/31/2007 at 9:21:50 AM

Good play, alot of options


Kenny says:
10/31/2007 at 5:35:39 PM

Great play. It confuses the defense, gives you options, and it looks like a quick-hitter. Great job.


Dre says:
11/1/2007 at 4:03:16 PM

This play is good one for a team that has experience playing togather for a period of time.But good play!


Coi Basket BR says:
11/2/2007 at 12:14:38 PM

Big play.


edmond springer says:
11/4/2007 at 2:19:19 PM

a very good last 2 min play


Khalid Izaz says:
11/12/2007 at 5:58:30 AM

This play is good one for a team that has experience playing togather for a period of time.But good play!


Edward says:
11/20/2007 at 1:59:26 AM

I like this play because you can use it off of the fast break. I am still skeptical to using it often for man to man and even zone defenses. I think this play is for Middle School levels and below just because many here have said that the play is good for "experienced" teams.

  1 reply  

Heaven Tennant says:
12/17/2018 at 9:06:47 AM

I agree with you, personally, if you are a relatively good school then i wouldnt even use this play on 8th grade.


The LES BBall Team says:
11/21/2007 at 5:48:50 PM

our team is going all the way!!! Go Leesburg
By the way great play Lve the name


sarah says:
2/24/2008 at 9:53:39 AM

i love this play.
it helped the hickory huskers win the state chapionship.


Jeff says:
3/25/2008 at 1:15:54 AM

I saw this play used to win a hs playoff game a couple of years ago. It's best used as a last second, desperation play because any team worth it's salt can figure out how to defend it easy if they see it more than once. All you have to do is fight through the screens and play position defense. If you know where the players are going to be breaking to then you can be in their way before they get there.

  1 reply  

Mike says:
4/3/2017 at 9:23:20 PM

If that is "all you have to do" then the same would be true of any patterned offense. You would know what was coming every time and would be able to stop it.

Fighting through a good screen is not exactly easy.


shevaun donaldson says:
3/27/2008 at 8:39:47 PM

i think i works if your backcourt where good shoters and if the defense rotates off the screen one of the shotters will be open for a shoot


hohoho says:
6/18/2008 at 6:11:24 AM

To Jeff:
If the defender were to guess what they are doing next, sure there is an easy play open up for easier baskets, or if possible, change the speed of play at times.


Thomas Schottelkotte says:
4/12/2009 at 8:18:58 PM

does this take a long time to develop?


Unknown.. says:
6/13/2009 at 11:37:14 AM

This seems lyke it would take a long time to develop and it seems too crammed together. I have gone to a lot of basketball camps and thyeve always said spacing is the key.. I dont get why thye are so crunched up.. But wahteva!!

  1 reply  

Michael says:
1/24/2015 at 10:27:09 PM

They are bunched because they are setting screens for the 3 spot. Yes, spacing is a key, you don't have to go to a camp to know that. It's not going take any longer than any other play. Then again, you used "whateva", so I don't expect you to see it.


Andre Abdollahian says:
1/22/2010 at 3:16:51 PM

It seems like it should only be used at end of the game when you have a few possessions left. so all your eggs are in that basket.


Coach K junior says:
2/21/2010 at 12:19:34 AM

I put this play in last week with my varsity team (We start 4 sophs and a senior so our record stinks but I figured I would try it). I have tried to run it 4 times so far and have gotten 1 3-pointer for my PG (1) after his screen for the 5 (center) and 2 curls for the 3. Of course we missed the open 3 and blew 1 of the layups, but if you focus on the screens in practice, this play can get you open looks.


BADJDOG424 says:
11/17/2010 at 12:17:28 AM

Really good play,I'll have to show it to my coach Travis. I plan to go all the way this season! Go Rio Vista Condors of Oxnard!!!!


jean says:
11/30/2011 at 9:24:45 PM

this play is awesome! it is very well set up


Dery says:
12/7/2011 at 10:28:53 PM

Great play and name!


Ken Sartini says:
12/8/2011 at 7:31:03 AM

I like this.... looks like something that would distort any Zone.... and yes, causes confusion.
You could always set this up for any good shooter.
It would sure mess with anyones help side defense vs m2m too.


Ben says:
10/30/2012 at 11:31:23 AM

Have none of you played basketball? This play does not work because of the proximity of your players! If they switch at all you will have no one open becuase 2 guys can guard all 4. Even if they dont switch the defenders can get around screens because the offensive player wont have room to set up the screens. You need space and misdirection for a screen to work. All your doing is creating a jumbled mess and hoping one of their defenders falls asleep. No chance of a layup with that many defenders in the lane and a good chance of a 5 second call if you're facing an active and tight defense.

  1 reply  

Mike says:
4/3/2017 at 9:33:28 PM

That is funny. A lot of teams run this or similar plays. Grinnell College has used a similar "line" type screening for their break for years.

They run it over and over and over and it is not stopped.

There is no good chance of a five second call. If 2 doesn't dribble for no reason upon catching the pass.

Even if that happens, there isn't really any mroe chance than any other time.

Under your theory, no box type sets with any kind of up/dpwn or cross screening would work.

Also, if the defense adjusts, you can install simple offensive adjustments.

If the 3 defender pushes through the double screen early, 3 could curl around and run his/her defender off the top of the double.

If the 1 defender switches too early 1 can cut back and post.

If the 1 defender cheats and tries to "jam" the 1 from going to set the screen he/she is giving up post position.

1 can curl around the screens, just like described for three, as well.

Anyone coming around the screens could pop out and ball screen

Heck, 1 could simply curl around from the start, instead of screening for 5. He/she could either curl or pop, like in Grinnell's set.


Ken says:
10/30/2012 at 12:12:03 PM

Ben -

Its all about execution... ever hear this.... the person that sets the best screens are the ones that are usually open? That happens with whatever play/offense you might run.

Its all about players too.... the better players usually win... great quote from Creighton Burns... IF your Jimmy and Joes are better than my Xs and Os... you will win.

Sometimes the D is better or guesses right, and other times the O executes better than the D. Pretty simple game, execute and score or you are going to be playing a lot of D!! JMO


Joe Haefner says:
10/30/2012 at 12:31:12 PM

Thanks, Ben. Maybe we should tell the coach that had success with it for 25 years at the college level to stop using it.


Coach Matt Pakoti says:
9/20/2013 at 3:26:49 PM

lv the play, with good execution, timing and solid screens this play can be effective.


JJ says:
4/16/2015 at 2:53:18 AM

"A lot!!!!" Alot isn't a word.


Jesse the Seal says:
8/7/2015 at 12:01:11 AM

I saw Hickory run this play once


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