Can You Advance The Ball In High School Basketball?

The final minutes of a basketball game can take forever. It’s especially true in high school because of the debate about whether they can advance the ball. 

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Can you advance the ball in high school basketball?

You cannot advance the ball in high school basketball after a timeout, like in an NBA game. Late in the game, teams call a timeout to think of a strategy or play to score in close games. After the timeout, the ball is inbounded under the basket, but it’s advanced to the half-court line in the NBA. 

When a team does call a timeout during a high school game, the ball remains underneath the basket for the upcoming inbounds play. 

High school basketball coaches have lobbied for this in high school and college because it closes the gap late in games in the fourth quarter. But it also increases the intensity level when a team is forced to inbound from under the basket instead. 

The only way to advance the ball to halfcourt in high school basketball is with a long pass or quickly dribbling and passing up the court. 

The rules can seem complicated and confusing if you’re new to high school basketball. This guide will explain all the significant rules governing how high school basketball games are played and how it stacks up to college basketball and the NBA. 

High School Basketball Rules Explained

High school basketball incorporates many of the same rules as college. However, not much is the same compared to the NBA. So let’s review the rules in-depth and see how it all works. 

Number Of Timeouts

In high school, every team has five total timeouts. Three are full (60-second) timeouts, and two are 30 seconds. However, this can vary depending on the state and local league rules. 

College basketball is similar. Instead of five timeouts, there are only four, but they are all full timeouts. And one must be used in the game’s first half, or the team loses it for the second half. 

Each team in an NBA game has seven total timeouts. They are taken more frequently, and there are fewer media stoppages because of the increased number of team timeouts. 

Official Timeouts

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One reason why high school games are faster is primarily due to fewer official timeouts. The NBA and NCAA use these because of commercials, and there are 6-8 of them per game. 

Unless a high school game is nationally televised (which is rare), there are no official media timeouts or stoppages in play. 

10 Second Violation

The 10-second violation is when a team fails to get the ball from the backcourt into the frontcourt in 10 seconds. This happens when the opposing team is playing a full-court press defense. It results in a turnover. 

The rule is the same in college. However, the NBA is different; they have an 8-second rule rather than a 10-second rule. This violation is also why advancing the ball is such a critical tactic and rule worth discussing. 

Backcourt Violation

In basketball, there is a rule known as the backcourt violation. This is also an NBA rule, and it states that once the ball is advanced past the half-court line by the team on offense, it cannot go back to the other side of the court again unless touched by the defense first. 

If this happens, it’s a dead ball turnover, and the opposing team gets it. They would then inbound the ball from out of bounds near the half-court line to start their offensive possession. 

Inbounding The Ball

After all made baskets, personal fouls (unless free throws), and turnovers, the ball is inbounded from out of bounds. Once the player passing the ball inbounds gets the ball from the basketball referee, they have five seconds to pass it, or it results in a five-second violation. 

The biggest difference in this rule in high school and the NBA is after a made basket, the team getting the ball back can call a timeout. This would advance the ball to inbound above half-court, making it easier to find an open player. 

In high school and college, this is not possible. However, the inbounder can move along the baseline only after a made basket to find an open player to avoid a five-second violation. 

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Free Throws

Like college basketball and women’s basketball, high school games also start shooting free throws after 7 team fouls. However, if a foul is called during the act of shooting, the team also gets free throws. 

At 7 team fouls, they shoot one free throw. If they make it, they shoot a second one. After a team gets to 10 or more fouls, they enter the double bonus and automatically get two shots. 

In the NBA, there is no 1-1 and free, but the team automatically shoots free throws if there are two or more fouls in the last two minutes. 

Free throws are also awarded to the other team after technical fouls. A technical foul equals two free throws in high school and college but only one in the NBA

Will High School Rules Ever Allow Teams To Advance The Ball?

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There have been discussions about changing the rule in high school and college. But nothing has progressed that indicates it will change anytime soon.

The argument is that it makes late-game situations more competitive because the ball can advance. However, other players and coaches say it’s more challenging this way and better for the game. 

Full-court pressing is used much more in high school and college because of this too. Changing the rule would take this aspect out of the game, and many coaches fear this could take away from the competitiveness in each basketball game

Key Takeaways

  • No, you cannot advance the ball by calling a timeout in high school basketball as they do during NBA games. 
  • The same is true in college basketball; the team inbounds the ball from underneath their own basketball after calling a timeout. 
  • Currently, there have been no real talks about changing the rule in high school so teams can advance the ball. 

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