Many factors contribute to low tourney scores

After going over the BDN’s informative and timely boys and girls basketball tourney brackets again, I noticed many team scores were below 50 points just like many regular season games.

There were 140 tournament games and 10 state games for a total of 150 games (300 team spots) with 124 of the losing teams scoring below 50. In 46 of the 150 games, both teams scored below 50 while 130 teams scored 50 or more points per game.

Of the 300 teams that played in those 150 games, 170 teams scored below 50 points (56 percent). It was hard to believe but two teams scored less than 20 points, 20 teams scored in the 20s, 68 in the 30s and 80 in the 40s.

When comparing the boys and girls games, the boys had 53 losing teams score below 50 and the girls had 71.

Of the 20 teams in the 10 state final games, the losing teams had eight teams score below 50 and both teams did the same in four games. Only one team scored over 60 points, seven scored 50 to 59 and 12 scored below 50 (one in the 20s, four in the 30s and seven in the 40s) These are surprisingly low scores for the best teams in the state.

There are several reasons for the low scores:

— The courts at the tourney sites are larger than high school gyms. This makes for more difficult shooting backgrounds as the baskets are portable and not attached to walls or ceilings. The backgrounds are much farther away. Even when comparing the old Bangor Auditorium to the Cross Insurance Center Bangor, the end walls of the Auditorium were closer to the baskets compared to today’s sites. This could present a depth perception problem for shooters, especially for 3-point shooters.

— The 10 added feet of college-sized courts can lead to earlier fatigue and when the legs go, shooting usually goes — especially perimeter shooting.

— The additional 10 feet also takes about two seconds to get the ball the 10 feet by dribbling and one second on a pass. Through the course of the game, this adds up to a few more minutes used per game to cover the additional 10 feet with a dribble or pass.

— Too many coaches are letting players decide who shoots, when they shoot and where they shoot from, instead of implementing an offensive system to determine who, when and where. This could be because the coaches are relying more on the players’ athleticism instead of teaching better basketball decision-making skills. Doing the former leads to more player control and defensive fouls and increased turnovers, which decreases scoring opportunities.

— Too often players think they are playing with a shot clock as they aren’t patient in shot selection and end up taking poor shots.

— Shooting fundamentals and techniques need to be improved. How many coaches spend time on individual shooting skills with their players? Most coaches only have 14 possible weeks during the season and a six-week summer period so there’s limited time for coaching shooting. If coaches can’t successfully demonstrate shooting fundamental skills, then it’s hard to get players to buy into following them.

Better overall defense could also be contributing to the low scores but with every whistle stopping the clock, the 3-point shot and basketball being played year-round, teams should be scoring more points than they did in the 140 tourney and 10 state-final games.