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Why is scoring so low ?? Empty Why is scoring so low ??

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:56 pm

It seems like scoring has been down the last few years and I think it became omnipresent during the start of this season and the holiday tournaments. One only has to look at the scores of recent games: Boy's QCIBT final Central 49 Merrimack 41 Girl's QCIBT final Memorial 51 Bow 43 Oyster River Tournament Spaulding 51 Portsmouth 40 North Girl's Holiday Tournament North 45 BG 38. I'm not picking on holiday tournaments. The scores on both the girls and boys side in the regular season games in December were low. Before I get into the low scoring let me preface by saying I am not one of those people that says "back in my day etc etc etc." I'm just looking at facts here and when you see it on paper it is very revealing. For this this thread I am concentrating on prior and present day results from Class L and boys and girls.

Let's start with the average scores of Class L championship games over the last 4 decades. In the 70s and 80s an average score of a high school basketball game was 66 to 60 or 62 to 58. If a game was 55 - 52 then people said it was low scoring. If a game was 52 to 48 or 48 to 44 it was a defensive struggle. Remember the 3 point shot wasn't adopted in college basketball until 1986 which means high school didn't adopt the 3 pointer until the late 80s or early 90s. All you had in the 70s and 80s for high school basketball were 2 pointers and free throws for scoring.

Here are the average scores for Class L boy's championship games for the last 4 decades:

1970s: 66 - 61

1980s: 60 - 54

1990s: 61 - 50

2000s: 56 - 49

Here are your average scores for Class L girl's championship games for the last 3 decades ( Class L girls didn't start until 1977):

1980s: 60 - 46

1990s: 60 - 43

2000s: 55 - 39

I took the Class L championship games as a barometer because I figured this represented a healthy sampling of the style of basketball played in these decades. You can see how the total point totals have declined for each ensuing decade and had a good drop for the championship games played in the 2000s. Remember, this drop of scoring averages in the 1990s and 2000s came when the 3 point shot was in play. Also, take into account most people think scoring drops in the playoffs when teams go to UNH or SNHU with the bigger arena and shooting background. The rim gets tighter in the playoffs. Well, in the 1970s, for the boys, the average championship score was 66 - 61 without the 3 point shot. In the 2000s the average championship score was 56 - 49 with the 3 point shot. I am not counting the 61 - 59 Pinkerton victory over Winny for the 2000s discussion because this game starts a new championship game decade. It did take 2 OTs for both teams to get around the scoring line of 60 points. The Pinky-Winny championship game was tied at 40 - 40 at the end of regulation. In the boy's championship games of 2005 to 2009 the total scoring was so low you have to go back 50 years to the early 60s to find a 5 year stretch that had such a low scoring out put for a 5 year Class L championship span.

Let's look at the start of this 2010 - 2011 regular season. Let's use 60 points for a boy's team score and 50 points for a girl's team score as the meausring stick for a team score. The average score so far in boy's regular season games in D1 is 62 - 50. In D1 girls it is 52 - 36. In 18 boy's games only 14 out of 36 teams have scored over 60 points or just over 1/3. In the girl's games only 23 of the 64 team scores have gone over 50 points. Take away Winny and Londonderry and only 16 of 57 team scores have gone over 50 points for the girls which is 28%.

In the boy's QCIBT the average score for the tournament was 52 - 45. 3 of the 24 team scores went over 60 points for a 12% rate. If you look past the numbers just watching this type of basketball can be numbing to the basketball purist mind. I watched great stretches of games where teams wouldn't score for 3, 4 and sometimes 7 minutes. The Central semi final 37 - 36 victory over Memorial was a battle of basketball attrition. I found myself mentally wandering and not in synch with the game because there was never much of a flow to it. The last 3 minutes were exciting, but the previous 29 minutes bored my basketball mind. It's almost as if regular season games in boys and girls have become like playoff games at UNH. At least in a playoff game at UNH you have the playoff atmosphere and large vocal student bodies to make a 45 to 42 game very exciting. In a regular season game, that for the most part is played in front of small student bodies and emptier gyms, a 45 to 42 game is a snoozer.

I talked with a few basketball junkies about this low scoring trend and here are some of the most heard reasons why:

- Athletes are faster and quicker now so they play better defense.
- Players practice the 3 point shot too much and don't practice the medium range shot enough.
- Coaches coach defense more now than they used to. In past times teams tried to out score teams. Now, they coach defense first and offense second.
- Referees don't call enough. There is a lot of holding, hand checking and grabbing defensively that is not called which prevents the offensive player from operating.
- In the past players just played basketball. Now, there are so many more options to play other sports. Basketball takes a back seat.
- There aren't as many talented players playing on any given night in HS basketball in NH as there was 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
- With no shot clock coaches play it close to the vest in most games and have a disciplined team offense that takes time off the clock.

After giving it some thought here are my 3 main reasons why scoring is down:

1) The 3 point shot killed the basic medium range jumper. Even though you receive more points for the 3 players have a tendency to practice and shoot this shot too many times in an average HS game. It's a high risk/high reward shot. Players and teams attempting this shot can have a direct effect on their lackluster medium range, paint and slashing to the hoop offensive game. Sure, it looks neat when a 6'2 to 6'7 kid hits a 3, but when was the last time in the game they displayed a drop step or banked a shot in from 3 to 8 feet in the game? The guard who hits 1 out 5 threes in a game would be better served if he hit 2 out of 5 medium range shots. I am just using this as an example, but it is something I see too much of in HS basketball. West was down by about 7 to 8 points to Central in the quarter final game of the QCIBT with 2 minutes left. They must have launched 8 to 10 3 pointers in the last 2 minutes. It was painful watching West missing time and time again when they could've been shooting a much better percentage medium range shot or slashing to the hoop and possibly creating an And 1 situation to make a comeback. The 3 point line is a double edged sword, but in my opinion it is the major reason why scoring has gone down in HS basketball over the last 20 years.

2) Coaches focus on defense more now than they did 20 years ago. There is so much scouting with video now. Teams and coaches can break down another team's tendencies before they play them by watching a tape of a previous game. Now, the mantra is "how we can defend them" as opposed to "how are we going to beat them." It is cool to be a shut down defender. Coaches elongate their benches by having a couple of defenders on the team. Basketball players are better athletes now. The 8th to 11th player on most benches are certainly better athletes than the 8th to 11th players from teams in the 70s and 80s. In this group you usually have a couple of good role players that can give a team a good 2 to 4 minute stint and physically tire out a good scorer from the other team.

3) Coaches have more disciplined offenses. The lack of a shot clock can certainly play a role, but remember there were no shot clocks in the 70s when the average championship scores were 66 - 61. I just think coaches want players to look for more options offensively and with this comes more time possessing the ball offensively.

So, what will 2011 hold for scores? Will my basketball senses be numbed by 3 to 7 minute stretches where a team doesn't score. Will finding good offensive flow stretches of a game be like finding a loan at a bank these days?

My basketball mind needs to be massaged instead of being numbed. I'll be watching and waiting.

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Post  chicagokid43 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:44 pm

As a player in school who was robbed of many points because no one drew a three point line until after I graduated, I think the biggest factor is the assist is no longer admired. So many players want to be the scorer that team play has taken a nose dive. Scoring use to be the result of a player being freed up by a screen and getting a open look. Now players are more apt to face up and go to the hoop themselves to create for themselves.
More contact is part of it as well. Players are now allowed to use the forearm on a offensive player which to me is actually more effective than the hand check in some ways because it is easier to lean and put weight on your man. It also brings the defender closer and makes the pull up actually harder to get off. Last but not least. Not as many pure shooters. The thought of the dunk and three pointer has taken away the midrange and more balanced attack players use to have. Players like Bird, Bernard King, Alex English, Marc Aqguire were experts at showing the ball high just to get a step to go by but when they created space they would get to 10 to 12 feet and pull up for an easy look. I think players now do one or the other... shoot from deep or go all the way to the hoop which with good help Defense is harder to finish than the pull up.



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Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:52 pm

I mildly disagree with you about the assist being "no longer admired." It is still admired, but the problem is that players dribble drive and then kick it out to a 3 point shooter(s) hovering in back of the 3 point line. Big men make a move in the paint, get double teamed then kick it out to a 3 point shooter for a shot. The assist is still admired, but standing in front of the 3 point line for the pass and ensuing shot is not admired.

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Post  chicagokid43 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:34 pm

Yeah it is admired so much I cannot name one team in the state that has a banner with it's high Assist man or even the last time a player hit a milestone like 500 assist. It is going to happen this year in Milford and no one will even know. However if a player dunks or scored 40 it would be all the rage..

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Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:56 pm

Maybe, GNG could give us some perspective on the low scoring trend instead of updates on the Old Silo get togethers or being too friendly with a certain bottle on the night of his birthday celebration.

After all, GNG did play in "the days of yore."

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Post  GNG on Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:24 pm

From a nh perspective,I feel the game is WAY more physical then it was back in the 70's.My biggest gripe is the inconsistency in the referee's.I always look to see who is reffing the game before it starts.One night you can mug a kid, and no foul called,the next night you tap a kid and it's a foul.But I digress,I think scoring might be down{at least in d1} because of talent,or the lack of it.There are some really bad teams out there this year.If I ran the world, or at least the nhiaa I would have the 16 best teams in the state no matter what the schools size have the option to play d1 before the season started,no 2 year cycle.How cool would it be to have MILFORD,PEMBROKE,SOUHEGAN,PORTSMOUTH,BG,TRINITY,CENTRAL,MEMORIAL,MERRIMACK,WEST,PINKERTON,SALEM,DOVER,LONDONDERRY,NORTH,WINNY.Even if the games were low scoring,they would be exciting.

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Why is scoring so low ?? Empty Hard to pull that off..

Post  chicagokid43 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:03 pm

So hard to just pick the top teams and make a division. Think about it, while a team like Pembroke or Pelham that are small in size already would be giving up a lot more. Sure it would be great for the regular season but it could rob some good smaller division teams of playoff runs that they deserve based on school size.

The real key to more scoring is better skills for the players and more calls and clearer referee training. Referee's in my eyes are looking to allow the game to flow, keep the pace of the game and to let the players decide the outcome. All of those theories in my eyes is their way of justifying not making calls based on the rules of the game. Their is a ton of inconsistency and players,coaches and fans are noticing it. Even Referee's notice it. Many times a referee from this forum has mentioned certain ref's that is very forgiving and allows more than others... Sorry not possible to get a referee that is different than the others on a consistent basis without him or the rest of the group doing the job incorrectly.

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Why is scoring so low ?? Empty look at the feature d1 matchup tuesday

Post  GNG on Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:14 pm

Trinity at Merrimack,lots of good athletes and it wouldn't surprise me if the final was 42-40.Shot clock would be a huge help to make these games have more points scored,and a little more exciting.Don't forget bg's game moved to wednesday at south.Something tells me the green and gold are going to put up some points.

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Why is scoring so low ?? Empty Shot Clock

Post  chicagokid43 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:47 pm

Shot clock would not have as much effect as most think. When was the last time a team you know of in NH used 30 seconds to get a shot? Never happens in Milford that's for sure.

Great BG moves one game to Wednesday.. same day as Portsmouth game I wanted to scout... dang it!

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Why is scoring so low ?? Empty Thats sound familiar?

Post  basketballtime on Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:13 pm

I guess thats what i was talking about with the awards being handed out and overall play on the court. When i played i always admired the kids that could things that i couldn't and i still do today. Thats why i mentioned Holder not getting recognition in Keene in the first place. Now when you look at a team like Milford if my mind recalls correctly they have been scoring in the sixty's and eighty's consistantly for the past two years including the playoffs against two of the best coached teams in NH Portsmouth and Pembroke. So why is that you ask? I beleive it has to do soley on the fact of their guard play and the ability to score in any defensive scheme a team throws at them. When you have two guys like Mitchell and Holder that can dribble penetrate and break down a defense that Makes Mike O the recipient of a lot of open threes. And so again i go back to keene finals and you had no Mike O and Mikey who seemed hobble and missing key time i think it was crucial that Holder drove to the hoop and was rewarded by being put on the line and going 9-13 on all those extra high percentage shots which by way also puts the other team in trouble. So All in all maybe Milford has something here? And maybe just maybe the art of easy baskets is not a lost art form?

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Why is scoring so low ?? Empty free throws is another thing

Post  GNG on Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:46 pm

next time you go to a game,check out how many missed free throws there are.Kid's would rather practice 3's then free throws.Milford is an outstanding free throw shooting team,but they are the exception not the rule.Kid's are happy hitting 6 out of ten,I say 8 out of ten or your running.

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Post  basketballtime on Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:54 pm

Thats what's so crazy to me is you see so many kids throwing up threes and then can barely shoot fifty percent at the line? So please coaches teach your kids how to shoot from the line and while your at it how to get there.

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Why is scoring so low ?? Empty My Biggest Complaint with my own son

Post  chicagokid43 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:32 pm

One of the parts of my sons game I do not see enough of. Him at the line. He has to get better at change of pace and when a defender leans on him he needs to be better at getting calls. Lean away and then reengage to show the contact.. He is a solid free throw shooter but does not do enough to punish the other team for playing him close.

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Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:44 pm

Free throw shooting is very weak state wide. I am convinced FT shooting was better before the enactment of the 3 pointer in HS basketball. I even remember when I did game reports the last couple of years and would have box scores. At least half the time I would say team A lost it at the line with 8 for 21 FT shooting or 6 for 17. I think GNG would agree with me BG was very questionable from the FT line in some games last year. There were a lot of groans from the BG stands when one ft after another was missed. I know because I attended 4 BG games last year - Dover, Merrimack, Pinkerton and Memorial.

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Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:55 pm

I just checked out the results of the Chick-fil-A Holiday Tournament in Nashua. When the NH teams played the NH teams the average score of the 6 games was 51 - 40.

Eeeccchhh. Now, I am looking to the 2011 part of the season with some trepidation. I might have to have an X-large coffee before I attend games so I can stay awake.

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Post  GNG on Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:10 pm

I want to say bg missed 12 against central,I know my kid was o for 2, and we had a little talk after the game.That is free money as far as I am concerned,he was 6 for 6 against londonderry.I believe free throw shooting is sometimes contagious,if someone starts missing,everybody starts missing,and visa versa.Central missed their fair share of freebies as well.Very few teams that I have seen recently shoot 65% from the line,which is a shame.T@f there were many times last year when BG would put up alot of points in a game,and I would say imagine if they would have hit their free throws what the score would have been.

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Why is scoring so low ?? Empty MIlford averaged 70.6

Post  chicagokid43 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:11 pm

Milford averaged 70.6 in the three games at Keene... Come to Milford, have a burger and see some points hit the board.

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Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:16 pm

I'll come to Milford to see the points, but pass on the burger. That "humble" word makes another appearance. We have humble opinions, humble pie and now humble fresh ground burgers.

The Double Dribble Burger:

Two humble fresh ground burgers, dribbled in cheese sauce with your choice of toppings. Served with a side of our or French friesor homemade onion rings.


That’s a $9.45 value!!!!!


Spartan Fan price ….


$5.95


…and $1.00 to be donated to the Spartan Basketball Team.


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Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:19 pm

GNG, I'm sure BG would've topped 90 to 100 points a few times if they shot 70 to 80 percent from the line for a game.

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Post  chicagokid43 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:20 pm

Your missing out on a great Burger!

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Post  Tuesday and Friday on Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:26 pm

Have Papa Joe send me the nutrition contents of this Spartan feast. I will review it so I can make an informed eating decision. I don't want any one saying I'm laxing on my PCA.

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Post  goldenbear on Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:33 am

The lack of post play in the state, no one wants to play in the post, thus no easy baskets) in NH 6-3 used to make you a post player, now 6-3 kids want to play college ball so they develop an outside game. But then you get kid like Mathieu from Pinkerton who as no college b ball aspirations and he dominates and his team scores some points.

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Post  Tulliver on Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:52 am

GNG wrote:I want to say bg missed 12 against central,I know my kid was o for 2, and we had a little talk after the game.That is free money as far as I am concerned,he was 6 for 6 against londonderry.I believe free throw shooting is sometimes contagious,if someone starts missing,everybody starts missing,and visa versa.Central missed their fair share of freebies as well.Very few teams that I have seen recently shoot 65% from the line,which is a shame.T@f there were many times last year when BG would put up alot of points in a game,and I would say imagine if they would have hit their free throws what the score would have been.

I kind of see what you mean about the contagious aspect of it...and I agree (off) shooting from the line has become a much more common occurrence.
The last kid I remember "seeming" like a sure thing at the line was Ryan Bourgeois

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Post  Tuesday and Friday on Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:09 am

Good point G-Bear. There has been a significant decrease in Bigs in this state in the last 5 years. One only has to look at that "Fab Five" Trinity team from a few years ago. Even though they had the tallest team in NH HS b-ball in some time they really didn't have a true center. Luke Bonner may have been inching close to 7 feet during his HS career, but he preffered navigating in the 15 to 25 foot area on offense. That Pioneer team is just one example of the slide of the Big in NH. That Trinity team did rack up points, but they didn't rack up any championships either.

I will say I am impressed with what Goffstown is doing in D2 this season. I know they dropped from D1 to D2, but they are averaging 89 points/game in securing a 3 - 1 record so far. They have hit over 100 points twice. One would think Pistol Pete Poirier has been hired as their offensive coordinator. Coach Poirier coached some very offensive minded Memorial teams from the 1970s to early 90s. His 1982 state champion Crusader team still holds the record for most team points scored in a Class L/D1 state tournament at 302 points.

Tomorrow night at the Simon Gym I would expect a 43 to 41 type game from Central and Trinity. It will be a typical Queen City rock fight where points will not be in an abundant amount. I'm thinking you have 8 quarters where a team will score not including OT. I will put the over under of double digit quarter scores for both teams at 6.

What do you think, Tully, over or under?

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Post  Tulliver on Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:14 am

I'll get back to you....I don't think six is very far off...

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