After evaluating the box scores for the six Class B, C and D North basketball finals and four Class C and D state finals, I was amazed that the 3-point shooting percentages were so low.
The boys shot 37 of 152 for just 24.3 percent while the girls hit 16 of 76 shots for 21.7 percent. The combined percentage for the two games was 23.5.
Researching the 46 tourney games played at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, I was even more surprised by the low scores and some readers have asked me the reasons for this.
When coaching at John Bapst in the late 1980s and early 1990s many people considered us a patient, slow team that was boring to watch, but we still averaged 50 points per game. Today, teams are trying to score with a more uptempo pace and many still can’t hit 50 a game.
In those 46 games in Bangor, only 27 of the 92 team scores were 50 points or higher. Seven were in the 20s, 25 in the 30s, 33 in the 40s, 19 in the 50s, five in the 60s and three in the 70s.
There are several reasons for the low scores.
First, the shooting background is not conducive to good shooting percentages. The baskets are far away from any solid backgrounds which make for tough depth perception compared to the much better shooting backgrounds at the Bangor Auditorium.
Second, the college-size court is 10 feet longer than regulation high school courts that players use during the regular season. Mental and physical fatigue have an effect on shooting, especially as games progress.
The third reason is poor shot selection, which is the fault of the coaches, not the players. There are too many forced shots off the dribble, off-balance attempts on drives to the hoop and rushed shots.
Fourth, the ball seems to get bigger and the rim seems to get smaller in the pressure of tourney games and state finals. This mental pressure tightens up shooting muscles, especially from the foul line and the 3-point line. The basket is still 18 inches in diameter and ball is 9 inches in diameter. I saw a lot of 3-point attempts from NBA distance and they usually were air balls.
Fifth, some players have poor shooting skills and techniques. The biggest weakness is not getting enough leg depth into the shots. The only kinesiology in shooting a basketball correctly is releasing the ball from the shooting hand with a wrist snap when the legs are straight from being bent to get enough legs into the shot.
Some may argue that the main reason for the low scores is that teams now play better defense, but I don’t think that’s true.
The tourney did feature a few pure shooters but they are getting harder to find today at the high school level.