High School Basketball Rules

High school basketball rules are intended to keep the game moving in a safe manner, protect players from potential injury, and provide uniform enforcement by the referees on the basketball court. Are you ready to tip off and play by the rules?

Uniform Rules

  • Home teams wear white jerseys.
  • Wearing an illegal uniform (color or player number) will result in a technical foul.
  • Any item that wraps around the entire head must meet the rule requirements regarding color, size, logo restrictions and team uniformity. Black or beige headbands are permissible.

Ball Handling

  • A ball handler reaches the frontcourt once the ball and both feet cross the half court line. On an inbounds play, the offense has ten seconds to cross into the frontcourt.
  • If the ball is knocked into the air, a dribble is allowed only if the ball hits the floor before it reaches the ball handler's hands.
  • A player is considered -closely guarded' when the offense player has possession and the defender is within six feet of him.
  • Defensively, the maximum distance to be away from an offensive player is six feet. No minimum distance exists as long as contact that slows the offensive player does not occur.
  • Legal guarding stance is defined as both feet on the floor and positioned facing the ball handler.
  • Goaltending and Interference
  • Interference takes place once the ball is in or on the basket and a player touches the ball, net, or any part of the basket.
  • If a player puts his arm up the cylinder of the rim to hit the ball, interference is called.
  • When the basketball is touched while it is in the imaginary cylinder above the rim, it is considered interference.

Foul Situations

  • Blocking is illegal when it prevents an opponent's movement when they do or do not have the ball.
  • A charge is illegal when there is contact-pushing or moving-into a player's torso.
  • If a player is attempting a shot and a teammate commits a foul, the foul should be called only if the ball hasn't been released. If the ball is on its way to the basket, play should continue.
  • An intentional foul should be the call on any foul committed to keep the clock from running. In most instances, this type of foul finds the defender creating contact away from the ball. An intentional foul also occurs when there is excessive contact with an opponent.
  • Incidental contact does not draw interference from normal movements. No foul should be called in this instance.
  • Slapping the backboard will result in a technical foul.

Screen Shots

  • A screener may face any direction, but he must be stationary unless he is moving in the same path and direction as the defender.
  • If the screen setter approaches a defender from the side or front, the screener can be anywhere, but contact must not be made.
  • If the screener is located behind the defender, one normal step must be between both players.
  • When setting a screen on a moving defender, enough time and distance to avoid the screen must exist.
  • Vertical Vexations
  • Verticality must be followed by a legally defensive guard position.
  • Defenders may jump vertically. This establishes their vertical plane.
  • A defender's arm may be extended with the vertical plane as the defender is on the floor or if he jumps up.
  • A foul should be whistled if a defender moves any body part outside of his vertical plane.

See also Popular Basketball Cheers.

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