Wednesday, January 6, 2016

51. More about basketball in the Forties

Since our recent post about high school basketball when Nancy and I were Growing Up in Gettysburg, we heard from several friends who reminded us of other changes in the game since the Forties.

For example, I played basketball at Gettysburg High School for four years, and I don’t remember anyone on our team slam-dunking the ball. I also don’t recall anyone dunking the ball on the teams we played in the old South Penn Conference.  It simply wasn’t part of the game.

Today, when two or more opposing players have possession of the ball at the same time, the referee awards the ball to one team or the other on a rotating basis. Every held ball in the Forties resulted in a jump ball which occasionally resulted in a 5’6’’ guard jumping against a center a foot taller than him.  

Today, a team is awarded free throws after their opponents accumulate a specific number of fouls. I don’t recall such a rule when I played the game.

In the previous post about basketball seventy years ago, I mentioned there was no shot clock and more emphasis on defense. That resulted in much lower scores like a 20 - 13 win against Shippensburg in 1946. 

But wait a minute! Apparently, defense in basketball is not dead.  In November, 2015, the  Bibb County High School  basketball team of Panther County, Alabama, defeated Brookwood High School 2-0. All the scoring happened in the first 15 seconds of the opening possession. The remaining 31-plus minutes were scoreless.

It is rumored the game was so dull that fans, players on the bench, a coach and one of the referees went to sleep. Me too had I been there. 

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