Understanding these basketball rules may make the game more enjoyable

Presque Isle’s Emily Wheaton drives toward the basket amidst Winslow defenders (from left) Haley Ward, Silver Clukey, Sara Guimond, Paige Trask (obscured) and Broghan Gagnon during the Class B North final at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor last February.  Pete Warner | BDN

With teams having gone through half of their schedules, tourney time is less than a month away.

With that in mind, I’d like to go over rules that some fans, parents, players and even a few coaches may not know or understand.

They all may get upset at a call due to a lack of understanding of the rule.

The first and most important rule I feel some players and coaches don’t know, let alone fans and parents, is the three-second rule in the free-throw lane. Lack of knowledge of this rule has players rushing to get their shots off because they are worried about three seconds being called.

Not enough coaches have their players get the ball inside enough because they may not know this rule. Fans and parents will often yell “three seconds” when the player with the ball is in the lane for up to six seconds.

However, if a player in the three-second area receives the ball before they are called for a three-second violation, then “allowance shall be made for a player who having been in the restricted area for less than three seconds, dribbles in or moves immediately to try for a goal,” according to the IAABO rule book.

If a player with the ball passes the ball to a teammate or dribbles out of the lane, it is a violation.

A player with the ball can fumble, dribble and fumble it, but cannot dribble, fumble and dribble again.

Concerning a rule on control of the ball: Once a team has control of the ball in the backcourt or frontcourt they have team control even when the player with the ball loses control of the ball. It is team control until the other team gains possession of the ball regardless if they touch it but do not gain control. The 10-second count continues.

Here’s what the IAABO rule book has to say about legal guarding position: “To obtain an initial legal guarding position: the guard must have both feet touching the playing court. The front of the guard’s torso must be facing the opponent.

“A closely guarded situation occurs when a player in control of the ball in his/her team’s frontcourt is continuously guarded by an opponent who is within six feet of a player holding or dribbling the ball. The distance shall be measured from the forward foot/feet of the defender to the forward foot/feet of the ball handler.

“A closely guarded count shall be terminated when the offensive player in control of the ball gets his/her head and shoulders past the defensive player.”

Basket interference is a rule that some have difficulty with, but the  IAABO rule book makes it clear: “Basket interference occurs when a player touches the ball or any part of the basket (including the net) while the ball is on or within either basket [and when a player] touches the ball while any part of the ball is within the imaginary cylinder which has the basket rim as its lower base.”

If a defender did this then it would be defensive basket interference and the basket counts. If an offensive player did this, then it would be offensive interference and no basket.

Other rules some may not be familiar with:

— If a defensive or offensive player intentionally punches the ball with a closed fist, this is a violation, just like kicking the ball intentionally is a violation.

— On an 84-foot court, the court will not be divided evenly. The backcourt is two inches longer because the two-inch midcourt line is considered to be part of the backcourt.

Knowledge of the rules makes the game more enjoyable for players, coaches and fans. Hopefully, they will all enjoy the remaining regular season games and the upcoming tourney.