These tips may help high school basketball teams secure a tourney spot

Now is the time for high school boys and girls basketball teams on the bubble in each class to make a push to solidify their postseason spots if they are in the top two-thirds of their class or to battle for a spot if they are in the bottom third.

Preliminary playoff games are just two weeks away, with girls prelims on Feb.10 and boys prelims on Feb. 11.

In the final two weeks, most teams will be playing an opponent they have already played as most teams have two to four games remaining in their regular season.

Here are some things coaches might want to consider in their quests for the valuable Heal points that will will secure a playoff spot.

1. Watch game films of opponents and then make sure to scout them several times to see if they have made any changes in personnel or style of play since your last meeting.

2. Think about using special defenses to stop teams with just one outstanding player. Switch defenses against the opponent for the second game. If you played man the last time, then switch to zone or vice-versa. Also, try a 1-3-1 zone as most teams do not use it. It is very effective against 3-point shooting teams as it takes away the wings and point for 3-pointers and forces the 3-pointers to the corners which are lower-percentage shots.

3. Emphasize making better basketball decisions

4. Utilize better shot selection, especially at crucial times.

5. Reduce the number of 3-pointers taken and get the ball inside more to open up 3-point attempts.

6. Change the tempo from the last game, especially going to slower tempo from fast as this will cut down on the number of offensive possessions for the opponents, especially with no shot clock.

7. Demand more from your players.

8. Use your best friend, the bench, if players make poor decisions, take poor shots or do things that you don’t want them to do.

9. Make sure players understand their individual roles

10. Set three team goals: Don’t commit more than 12 turnovers, don’t commit more than six fouls per half, and take more time on the foul line to try to shoot 70 percent. Meet these three goals and you have a good chance for a win.

There are also little things players can do to help their team:

1. Catch, stop, look and read the court before you do anything.

2. Don’t take a shot unless you are sure you can make it.

3. If you leave your feet with the ball, shoot it. If you don’t, it’s one of the major causes of turnovers, player control and charging fouls

4. When you catch the ball anywhere on the court, then pivot, face the basket and look for open teammates.

5. In the halfcourt don’t over dribble, only dribble when you cannot pass the ball, unless your team is running dribble drive. When you dribble, you cannot pass or shoot and a pass gets to a teammate faster than a dribble.

6. When guarding a player with the ball, don’t leave your feet until he leaves his feet.

7. When attempting to block a shot wait until the ball leaves the shooter’s hands so as not to foul the shooter.

These little things can make the difference between a win or loss, especially during crunch time. The tourney tips off on Friday, Feb. 13!

Trivia Question: Can you name in order the four sites that Bangor High School has played their home basketball games?