Picket Fence Play

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The Picket Fence Basketball Play often causes confusion for defenses which leads to easy baskets on offense. It is particularly effective if you have a dominant point guard. This play features an unbalanced court, a couple of screens, and plenty of movement. Check out the diagrams and descriptions below for all the details.


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.


picket_fence1 (1K)
  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.
  • 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_fence2 (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_fence3 (1K)
  1. Player 2 delivers a pass to Player 3 for a short shot. Player 1 sets a screen for Player 5.
picket_fence4 (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_fence5 (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!

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

I saw Hickory run this play once

  1 person liked this.  

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

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


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.


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.


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


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 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.


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

Great play and name!


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

this play is awesome! it is very well set up


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!!!!


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