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Big changes coming for high school basketball

There are major changes in high school boys and girls basketball that will take effect for the upcoming season.


Beginning with the 2023-24 season, high school basketball teams will shoot two free throws for common fouls when in the “bonus.” This change eliminates the one-and-one scenario and sets new foul limits.


In addition to awarding two foul shots for all common fouls, teams will reach the bonus when their opponent commits five fouls in each quarter and team fouls will reset at the end of each quarter. Previously, teams were awarded the one-and-one bonus when their opponents committed seven fouls in a half.


Rules changes were approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee at its annual meeting April 24-26 in Indianapolis. The recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.


“The rules committee studied data that showed higher injury rates on rebounding situations and saw this as an opportunity to reduce opportunities for rough play during rebounds,” said Lindsey Atkinson, NFHS Director of Sports and liaison to the Basketball Rules Committee. “Additionally, resetting the fouls each quarter will improve game flow and allow teams to adjust their play by not carrying foul totals to quarters two and quarters four.”


Trinity High School veteran boys coach Tim Kelly said he is anxious to see how these rules will affect the game.


“Until you really get under it and wrap your mind around it, we just won’t know,” Kelly said. “It will take some strategy away. When you send someone to the line and it’s one-and-one, it’s a little harder. Now you are going to have two shots. I’ve seen these rule changes coming. They're here, so you have to adapt. I thought the game was pretty good as it was.”


The NCHSAA has also made a change regarding the state basketball tournament. Problems experienced in this past tournament have led to a change in the way the final two rounds of the tournament will be held beginning with the 2023-24 season.


The new policy, which was voted on and passed unanimously recently by the NCHSAA, states that the NCHSAA will hold all state semifinals and state championships at a single location over the course of six days. Semifinal games will be played Monday through Thursday with the state championships on Friday and Saturday.


The NCHSAA released a model of what this format could look like: Semifinals for the East and West in boys and girls basketball would be held for a single classification on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with games being played at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. State championship games would be played on Friday and Saturday at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.


The NCHSAA noted they've had issues finding facilities large enough to hold basketball playoff events, particularly in the state semifinals. This past year, crowds exceeded the limitations some venues could hold, and in at least one situation, fans who purchased tickets to a game were unable to gain entry.


NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said at the basketball state championship press conference that it was "not the NCHSAA's finest hour."


The NCHSAA has spent many hours since the past tournament researching how other states hold their state tournaments and revamped their schedule for the upcoming season.


The Eastern Randolph High School boys advanced to the championship of the state 1-A tournament this past year.