Basketball: Four-Second End-Game Play From the Sideline

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

Setup for the Play
Setup for the Play

If you've watched the NCAA basketball tournament, you'll notice how often games come down to the final seconds. And the final play of the game often involves a timeout then an in-bounds pass from the sideline.

If your own team gets into a similar situation, here's a play you can run if you need two or three points with less than four seconds left on the clock and have an in-bounds pass from the sideline .

One player is on the sideline with the ball. Have three players form a wall on the opposite side of the free throw lane while the fifth player stands across the lane from the wall.

The play takes place immediately after the in-bounds player receives the ball from the referee. As soon as he touches the ball, he passes to an area just behind the player wall.

Pass Goes Over the Wall
Pass Goes Over the Wall

Without being dramatic about it, the middle player steps back from the wall to catch the pass and the other two players close up to re-form as a two-man wall. They'll form a perfect screen, and the player who catches the ball shoots from behind them.

Surprise is Important
The element of surprise is important in making this play successful. The in-bounds player shouldn't telegraph the pass and should pass immediately upon receiving the ball from the ref.

It's important that the three players in the wall don't move until the in-bounds pass is half-way two them. Then it's just a subtle step backwards by the shooter and a quick move inwards from the other players to re-form the wall. Since the defense often puts a big man in front of the in-bounds player, many of the defenders won't see the pass as it's thrown.

Middle Player in the Wall Steps Back, Catches the Ball & Shoots
Middle Player in the Wall Steps Back, Catches the Ball & Shoots

The play usually takes from 1.9 to 2.3 seconds to run and happens so quickly that opponents won't know what hit them. Your player will often be shooting before defenders even know he has the ball.

Three Point Option
You can also run this play for a three-point shot by moving the wall backward and having the shooter drop back all the way to the three-point line to take the shot.

Reference: Nick Nurse, “Dynamic Shooting Drills and End-Game Strategies,” DVD, Championship Productions, 2009.

Screenshot photos provided courtesy of Championship Productions.

To download the pdf version of this
article, click here: Download Now

© 2021, Physical Education,

Bookmark and Share

Printer-Friendly Format