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Revised 9/9/08
This information is for players, coaches and spectators to help understand the rules of high school basketball. Keep in mind that all of the rules of basketball are not included. Only the rules that are unique to high school basketball are described. Every effort was made to describe these rules so that the average person can understand them.

ALTERNATING POSSESSION: To start the second, third, and fourth quarters, the throw-in shall be from out of bounds at the division line opposite the scorers’ and timers’ table. An alternating possession shall occur when a held ball occurs; the ball goes out of bound simultaneously touched; a simultaneous free-throw violation occurs; a live ball becomes lodged or stuck on the rim; a double personal or double technical foul occurs.
BACKBOARD: The bottom, sides, and top of the backboard are inbounds regardless of the shape of the backboard. Any supports, clocks, wires are out of bounds. When a rectangular backboard is used, the ball is out of bounds if it passes over the backboard.
BLEEDING PLAYER: A player who is bleeding, has an open wound, or has an excessive amount of blood on his/her uniform, or has blood on his/her person shall be directed to leave the game. Unless a time-out is requested by his/her team or the situation can be corrected by the resumption of play.
CLOSELY GUARDED: A closely guarded situation occurs when a player in control of the ball in his/her frontcourt is guarded by an opponent who is within 6 feet. A player shall not while closely guarded hold the ball for 5 seconds or dribble the ball for 5 seconds.
CLOCK: Time out occurs and the clock, if running, shall be stopped when an official signals a foul, a held ball, or a violation. Or signals stoppage of play due to an injury or emergency. Or grants a player’s head coach an oral or visual request for a time out.
DISQUALIFIED PLAYER: A disqualified player is one who is barred from further participation in the game because of having committed his/her 5th foul (personal or technical), 2 technical fouls, or flagrant foul (fighting, striking, kicking, kneeing).
DRIBBLE: It is not possible to travel during a dribble. A player in not dribbling while slapping the ball during a jump, when a pass rebounds from his/her hand, when he/she fumbles, or when he/she bats a rebound or a pass away from other players who are attempting to get it. The player is not in control under these conditions. It is a dribble when the player stands still and bounces the ball. It is not a dribble when a player stands and holds the ball and touches it to the floor once or more than once.

  1. Hands off
  2. Defenders are not permitted to have hands on the dribbler.
  3. No displacement of a cutter
  4. No hand checking.
  5. No use of forearm, regardless of duration.
  6. Hand checking is not incidental contact.
  7. This applies to offensive and defensive player.
  8. Post play

A. If a player is displaced, it is a foul.
B. This applies to offensive and defensive players using a knee or the “swim” move.
       3. Screens
            A. Moving screens
I. The screener must be stationary upon contact.
II. It is not a moving screen unless there is contact.
             B. Excessive contact or “pushing through” the screen is illegal.
      4. Excess swinging of the arm(s) and or elbow(s)
            A. Where there is no contact with an opponent is now a violation.
B. If contact is made, the official must judge the severity of the act and possibly the intent.
C. A player control foul, and intentional foul, or flagrant foul may be called.
      5. Protecting the shooter
A. Contact that does not permit the shooter to return to the floor in their entitled   vertical space is illegal.
      6. Contact
A. Contact after the ball has become dead is ignored unless it is ruled intentional or flagrant, or is committed by or on an airborne shooter.


  1. No free throws for the following: (Throw in out of bounds)
  2. Common fouls before bonus rule is in effect.
  3. Player or team control foul.
  4. Double personal or technical fouls. (Alternating possession)
  5. Simultaneous personal or technical fouls. (Alternating possession)
  6. One free throw if fouled in the act of shooting and the try is successful.
  7. Bonus free throw for fouls 7, 8, and 9.
  8. Two free throws for fouls 10 and after.
  9. Two free throws plus the ball for intentional fouls.
  10. If fouled in the act of shooting and the try in not successful:
  11. Two free throws for 2 point try.
  12. Three free throws for a 3 point try.

FREE THROW: One shot and a bonus is awarded in each half for common fouls 7 through 9. From 10 fouls on, 2 free throws are awarded. Common fouls only, not player control fouls. Player control fouls and technical fouls count as team fouls to reach the bonus. Any player, other than the shooter who does not occupy a marked lane space must be behind the free throw line extended and behind the 3 point line. Free throws awarded by a technical foul may be attempted by any player. After the ball is given to the shooter, the try for the goal shall be made within 10 seconds. The ball must enter the basket or touch the rim. The free thrower shall not try to fake. No opponent shall disconcert the shooter. No player shall enter or leave the marked lane. No player can enter the lane until the ball touches the rim or backboard.

FRONTCOURT: During a dribble from the backcourt to the frontcourt, the ball is in the frontcourt when the ball and both feet of the dribbler touch the court entirely in the frontcourt.

INJURED PLAYER: A player who has been injured to the extent that the coach or any other bench personnel is beckoned and/or comes onto the court shall be directed to leave the game. Unless a time out is requested by his/her team and the situation can be corrected by the resumption of play.

INTENTIONAL FOUL: An intentional foul is a personal or technical foul designed to stop or keep the clock from starting, neutralize an opponent’s obvious advantageous position, contact away from the ball or when not playing the ball. It may or may not be premeditated and is not based on the severity of the act.


  1. Foul charged to player committing foul.
  2. Free throws awarded to the player fouled.
  3. Throw in at spot nearest foul.

GUARDING: Every player is entitled to a spot on the floor provided such player gets there first without illegally contacting the opponent. A player who extends an arm, shoulder, hip, or leg into the path of an opponent is not considered to have legal position if contact occurs. To obtain an initial legal guarding position, the guard must have both feet on the floor and the front of the guards torso must be facing the opponent. After the initial legal guarding position is obtained, the guard is not required to have either or both feet on the floor or continue facing the opponent. The guard may move laterally or obliquely to maintain position, provided it is not towards the opponent when contact occurs. The guard may raise hand or jump within his/her own vertical plane. The guard may turn or duck to absorb the shock of imminent contact.

HANDS AND ARMS: It is legal to extend the arms vertically above the shoulders and need not be lowered to avoid contact. It is legal use of hands to reach to block or slap the ball. Accidentally hitting the hand of the opponent when it is in contact with the ball is not a violation. It is legal to hold the hands and arms in front of the face or body for protection. It is not legal to extend the arms fully or partially in a position other than vertical so that freedom of movement of an opponent id hindered. The extension of the elbows when the hands are on the hips or when the hands are held near the chest or when the arms are held more or less horizontally are examples of the illegal positions used.

INCIDENTAL CONTACT: The mere fact that contact occurs does not constitute a foul. Contact that occurs unintentionally in an effort by an opponent to reach a loose ball, or contact which may result when opponents are in equally favorable positions to perform normal defensive or offensive movements should not be considered illegal, even though the contact may be severe.

JEWELRY: Jewelry shall not be worn. Religious and medical alert metals are not considered jewelry. A religious metal must be taped and worn under the uniform. A medical alert metal must be taped and may be visible.

KICKING THE BALL: Kicking the ball is intentionally striking it with the leg or any part of the leg or foot.


  1. Throw in awarded out of bounds nearest spot.

SCORING: When play is resumed with a throw in or free throw and three tenths (.3) of a second or less remains on the clock, no field goal may be scored by a try for goal. In this situation a tap could score.

SCREEN: To establish a legal screen the screener may face in any direction. The screener must be stationary, except when both are moving in the same direction. When screening a stationary opponent from the front side, the screener may be anywhere short of contact. When screening a stationary opponent from behind, the screener must allow the opponent one normal step backward without contact. When screening a moving opponent, the screener must allow the opponent time and distance to avoid contact. The distance need not be more than 2 strides.

START OF THE GAME: A team must begin with 5 players. The game must be continued until 1 player remains at which time the game is a forfeit unless the referee believes the team has an opportunity to win the game.

SUBSTITUTION: A substitute must report to the scorer’s table, giving his/her number. Between quarters, at halftime and during time out, the substitute must report to the scorer’s table prior to the warning horn. Substitutions between halves may be made by the substitute or a team representative. During multiple free throws substitutions may be made only before the final attempt and after the final attempt has been converted. The substitute shall remain outside the boundary until an official beckons them in.

THREE SECONDS: A player shall not remain for 3 seconds in that part of his/her free throw lane between the end line and the farther edge of the free throw line while the ball is in control of his/her team in his/her frontcourt. Allowance shall be made for a player who having been in the restricted area for less than 3 seconds, dribbled in or moves immediately to try for goal.


  1. Throw in awarded out of bounds nearest spot.

THROW IN: The designated throw in spot is 3 feet wide with no depth limitation and is established by the official prior to putting the ball at the throwers disposal. The thrower must keep one foot on or over the spot until the ball is released. Pivot foot restrictions and the traveling rule are not in effect for the throw in. The throw in spot is the nearest spot out of bounds from where the violation, out of bounds or non-shooting foul occurred. The thrower shall release the ball to pass directly into the court within 5 seconds. After a goal or awarded goal, the team not credited with the score shall make the throw in from the end of the court where the goal was made and from any point outside the end line. The thrower shall not carry the ball onto the court; touch the ball in the court until it is touched by another player; throw the ball so it enter the basket; be replaced by another thrower (except on a made basket).

TIME: Four quarters of eight minutes each with intermissions of 1 minute after the first and third quarters and 10 minutes between halves are played. Extra periods of 4 minutes are played if the score is tied. Intermission of 1 minute between extra periods.

TIME-OUT: 3 60 second and 2 30 second time-outs may be charged to each team during a regulation game. Each team is entitled to 1 additional 60 second time-out during each extra period. Unused time-outs accumulate and may be used at any time. A single 60 second time-out shall not exceed 1 minute with a warning signal sounded after 45 seconds. A single 30 second time-out shall not exceed 30 seconds with a warning signal sounded after 20 seconds. The 60 second time-out conference with team members shall be conducted within the confines of the bench area. Players shall remain standing during a 30 second time-out. A successive time-out is one which is granted to either team before the clock has started following the previous time-out.

TIMER’S DUTY: Sound the horn 15 seconds before the end of an intermission or a 60 second charged time-out and at 20 seconds of a 30 second time-out. Sound the horn at the end of 30 seconds for replacing a disqualified or injured player.


  1. A player who catches the ball with both feet on the floor may pivot, using either foot. When one foot is lifted, the other is the pivot foot.
  2. A player who catches the ball while moving or dribbling may stop and establish a pivot foot as follows:
  3. If both feet are off the floor and the player lands;
  4. Simultaneously on both feet, either foot may be the pivot.
  5. On one foot followed by the other, the first foot to touch is the pivot foot.
  6. On one foot, the player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both. Neither foot can be a pivot foot in this case.
  7. If one foot is on the floor;
  8. It is the pivot when the other foot touches in a step.
  9. The player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both. Neither foot can be a pivot in this case.
  10. After coming to a stop and establishing a pivot foot;
  11. The pivot foot may be lifted, but not returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal.
  12. If the player jumps, neither foot may be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal.
  13. The pivot foot may not be lifted, before the ball is released to start a dribble.
  14. After coming to a stop when neither foot can be a pivot;
  15. One or both feet may be lifted, but not be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal.
  16. Neither foot may be lifted, before the ball is released to start a dribble.
  17. A player holding the ball;
  18. May not touch the floor with a knee or any other part of the body other than the hand or foot.
  19. After gaining possession while on the floor and touching with other than hand or foot, may not stand or attempt to get up.


  1. Throw in awarded out of bounds nearest spot.

UNIFORM: A team jersey designed to be worn inside the shorts shall be tucked inside the shorts and the shorts shall be above the hips and worn properly. A player not conforming to this policy shall be directed to leave the game. A player many not remove his/her jersey at any point before or during the game (technical foul)

WARMUP: Each team’s basket before the game and for the first half shall be the one farther from its bench.