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Consider a shot clock for Wyoming prep hoops

Mar 27, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

It's time for the Wyoming High School Activities Association to get serious about a shot clock for high school basketball.

Eight states use the shot clock, California, Maryland, Massa-chusetts, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island and Washington. California uses a 35 shot clock for boys. Other states use a 30-second shot clock.

College basketball has a shot clock of 35 seconds for men. The women use a 30 second shot clock.

I would be fine with a 35-second shot clock for a trial run in Wyoming in the next few years.

Wyoming High School commissioner Ron Laird is on the committee of the National Federation of State High School for basketball rules.

"The idea has been brought up the last several years for a shot clock," Laird said. "We have really discussed it."

Laird said the vote last year was 9-1 not to have the shot clock in high school basketball nationwide.

"The expense is the No. 1 thing for a lot of the states," Laird said. "We are pretty fortunate in Wyoming with the funding that we get compared to other states."

If the shot clock ever is added in Wyoming high school basketball, officials would have to add another worker to the games.

"A lot of our schools struggle to fill what they need right now with the scorekeeper and a clock operator," Laird said.

One thing I learned why doing research is that adding a shot clock doesn't mean the scoring would go up.

"When we looked at the stats, there wasn't a lot of difference between the states that were using the shot clock," Laird said. "It wasn't like it increased the scoring significantly."

In one of the lowest-scoring games at the state tournament in Casper, the Star Valley boys won a 38-25 decision over Lander Valley High School in the Class 3-A state semifinal game.

The game just didn't create a lot of offense by either team when a state championship berth was on the line.

"One option they do have is controlling the tempo and slowing it down a little bit," Laird said. "We are going to take that option out of the strategy if a shot clock is put in. Those are some of the discussions that we have had."

Wyoming Indian High School boys basketball coach Craig Ferris is in favor for the idea of putting a shot clock in Wyoming.

"It would really expand our game," Ferris said. "It would kind of move them to that run-and-gun style of play. I think that it would be a good thing for the state of Wyoming."

Ferris wouldn't mind having at least a 40-second shot clock.

"I think the shot clock would bring a little more drama at the end of the games," Ferris said.

Wyoming Indian had the highest scoring team in Class 2-A with a 66.2 points per game average.

The Gillette boys had the No. 1 team in scoring in the Class 4-A division at 69.9. Riverton was second best in 4-A in scoring with a 61.1 average.

Evanston finished in the No. 10 position in scoring at 48.7.

Evanston beat Riverton High School in the 4-A championship game.

Rawlins had the No. 1 scoring team in Class 3-A basketball at 57 points per game.

"I don't think the focus on defense would go away," Ferris said. "I think that it would increase it. Teams would try to focus on getting a shot clock violation on defense."

Ferris said the influence of the Class 4-A and 3-A schools would have to get the ball rolling for the shot clock to be added to Wyoming.

"It would sit in the hands of the bigger schools," Ferris said.

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