A tightly officiated game will favor a fundamentally sound team

Brewer HIgh School's Matt Pushard snags a rebound during a game last season in Bangor. The high school basketball season begins Friday, Dec. 4. (Michael C. York/BDN)

Brewer HIgh School’s Matt Pushard snags a rebound during a game last season in Bangor. The high school basketball season begins Friday, Dec. 4. (Michael C. York/BDN)

As a high school basketball coach, I liked games called tight as far as contact was concerned and I believe in that old saying: “It isn’t what is called that affects the game, as much as what’s not called.”

Given that, if I was still coaching I would be pleased with an addition this season to the excessive contact rule to include post players. Last season, the rule was expanded in an effort to stop excessive contact on ball-handlers and dribblers outside the lane area.

For the upcoming season, post players have been added to the rule and the new language says “a player becomes a ball-handler when he/she receives the ball. This would include a player in a post position.”

The rule reinforces a philosophy of the game of basketball that I believe should be followed: The more fundamentally sound a team is, the more they should want the game called tight, both on offense and defense.

The following acts constitute a foul when committed against a ball handler/dribbler:

— Placing two hands on a player,

— Placing an extended arm bar on the player,

— Placing and keeping a hand on a player,

— Contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands. This pertains to offensive or defensive players any place on the floor and anytime ball is alive.

Fans, parents, relatives and friends attending the upcoming games this season should also understand that I believe fouls should be called based on whether an advantage or disadvantage occurs.

If an offensive or defensive player gains an advantage or is put at a disadvantage by physical contact, a foul should be called. A little contact can be a big advantage and a lot of contact sometimes may not put a player at a disadvantage.

This helped me to make more accurate foul calls when I officiated at any level: middle school, high school, prep school, college and  semi-pro games.

Advantage and disadvantage should be included in current rules on contact and incidental contact because they are great aids in determining who is responsible for personal contact and also makes it easier to understand why fouls are called.

It’s also better for three referees to be used at  all  high school games, which is the case for tourney games. Once this started for tourney games, I wanted the same scenario for my regular-season high school games. Six eyes are better than four eyes and it better prepares a team for what it will experience in a tourney game.

While the high school game has received that one addition to a rule, there are many changes in place for men’s and women’s college basketball.

Some key rule changes for men’s basketball include:

— The restricted area under each basket is widened from three feet to four feet,

— The shot clock is now 30 seconds instead of 35 seconds,

— There is no longer a closely guarded five-second count on a dribbler in the front court,

— Administrative technical fouls are two categories, A and B, with one shot for any administrative foul,

— Coaches cannot call a timeout when ball is alive,

— There are now 15 seconds to replace a disqualified player instead of 20.

Some key rule changes for women’s basketball include:

— Four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves

— Two shots when a team commits five personal fouls each quarter (same as NBA),

— Three, 30-second timeouts and two 60-second timeouts when there are no media timeouts,

— A defender guarding a back-to-basket post player with the ball may place a forearm or have one hand on the post player, but must have their elbow bent when using one hand.

Enjoy the games this season and hopefully you will be more aware if the rules are being followed. The high school season tips off on Friday, Dec. 4.