I’ve used just about every outlet possible to voice my displeasure with one of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s basketball rules.
I’ve written, tweeted and ranted on my radio show (which wrapped up on Friday) that prep basketball in the state of Nevada needs a shot clock.
The majority of prep coaches I’ve discussed the topic with have agreed, but the general consensus is ‘we don’t have one right now so we’re not going to worry about it.’
Maybe they should.
With 1:45 left in the third quarter of Saturday’s DI North boys title game—the most anticipated contest of the year—the absence of a shot clock did the nearly 1,500 in attendance at Spanish Springs an obnoxious injustice.
Leading 34-30 and with their most valuable player (Asa Carter) needing a breather, Carson took over possession and slowly walked the ball up the court. Once across midcourt, the Senators took turns holding the ball for upwards of 10 seconds before nonchalantly tossing the ball to a nearby teammate.
Boos rained onto the floor as the packed gym was forced to watch the biggest game of the game of the year came to a complete stall for nearly two whole second-half minutes.
One elderly woman sitting behind me showed her disliking of the standstill by repeatedly yelling “chicken****!”
The wildly inappropriate verbiage used by a grown woman towards high school athletes is a conversation for another column another day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my first time witnessing these actions by adults at high school sporting events, and it won’t be my last.
With a shot clock, the stall tactic obviously wouldn’t have been possible. If it were a 40-second shot clock, the very minimum number of possessions in the final 1:45 of the third quarter would be three, but likely it would be much higher total.
Regardless of how you feel about a shot clock in Nevada prep basketball, you can’t criticize Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia for choosing to hold the ball. His job is to win games, not please the casual fan with an up-and-down game.
He believed that’s what he needed to do to win the game. And he was right.
After Carson held the ball among the boos, Tez Allen found room down low and banked home a layup at the buzzer to push Carson’s lead to 36-30 over Reno. A bucket that loomed even larger, late, as the Senators led by three with just 30 seconds left when Reno heaved up a three in attempt to tie the game. The shot was off. And the regional title was Carson’s.
That sequence would have looked much more different if Reno only trailed by one.
Admittedly, Reno coach Matt Ochs could have directed his players to pressure the ball while Carson held it at the end of the third quarter, instead of letting them stand by and watch. Maybe they could have jumped in a passing lane. Maybe they could have force a five-second call.
It’s not something he should’ve had to worry about at that point in the game.
Maybe it’s time for the NIAA to catch up to 2016 and adopt a shot clock.
There would obviously be challenges (paying to install them, finding an official to run the clock, etc.) but the state’s prep athletics governing body isn’t doing the players, or the fans, any favors by promoting a slow game.
Prep basketball in Nevada has needed a shot clock for years, but after Saturday, it’s never been more clear.