Bryn Mawr – Since returning from his coaching stint at the collegiate level, Shipley girls’ basketball coach Sean Costello has been lobbying the PAISAA (Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association) to introduce a 30-second shot clock.
While putting together this year’s Inter-Ac/Friends’ Schools League girls basketball challenge last spring, Costello thought it would be the perfect time to experiment.
“As I was putting together the event, I spoke with the other schools and everyone was in favor of the idea,” said Costello. “I was very anxious to see how it would affect the end of games.”
The eight-team field – Shipley, Friends’ Central, Westtown, Germantown Friends, Germantown Academy, Penn Charter, Episcopal Academy, Springside Chestnut Hill and Baldwin – two-day event was held Dec. 1-2, with games being played at Shipley and Baldwin Dec. 1 before all games shifted to Shipley Dec. 2. All games at Shipley were played with a shot clock while the two contests played at Baldwin did not feature the shot clock.
Throughout the two-day event at Shipley, it was evident the shot clock made a difference as it forced teams to run through their designed plays at a quicker pace.
“I believe it did change the team’s strategy but in a positive way,” said Baldwin freshman Anajah Brown, whose team went 1-1. “At the beginning of the game we experienced one or two shot clock violations, but we were able to pass the ball around enough to get everyone involved but not too much where it caused a turnover. This allowed the team to have move possessions during the game overall.”
Episcopal Academy senior Luca Mamula added, “We did not realize until we got there we would be playing with a shot clock. At first, it made us a little rushed but once we slowed down and adjusted to the shot clock we were able to run our plays and get good shots.”
While the shot clock affected some teams, it appeared to be an advantage for the hosts on the offensive and defensive end.
“It did not seem to affect us because we like to play at a quick pace,” said Shipley junior Anna Camden, following her team’s win over Episcopal Academy the first day. “Defensively, I think it really helped because teams like to take their time while looking for a good shot. With the shot clock, they weren’t able to do that.”
Despite only having the shot clock for one game, it did not appear to bother Friends’ Central. According to junior Nia Jordan, “No. Surprisingly the shot clock did not affect us. I barely even noticed it was there.”
While the strategic differences were noticed, all of the teams had their own unique experience which could prove to beneficial down the road.
“Everything you do in high school helps prepare you for the next level and I think the shot clock helped us run our offense at a quick pace and it did not allow our opponents to be patient,” said Camden. “We were excited to have the opportunity.”
Brown added, “When we found out that the we were playing with a shot clock we were kind of hesitant, but once we got into the flow of the game we realized that playing with the shot clock wasn’t that much different after all. I believe it forced the team to make good decision quickly.”
“We definitely learned from playing with the shot clock,” said Mamula, who has hopes of playing college basketball. “It showed us we have to develop a plan and run through our offense in a timely manner.”
“The shot clock was especially fun for our team,” said Jordan. “It allowed for a quicker pace to the game because you couldn’t hold the ball for more than 30 seconds. think the faster pace was more fun for the players and the fans.”
When the two-day event was completed, the Inter-Ac had won six of the 10 games.