by Marlys Kruger
Although it seems like the high school basketball season is a long ways away, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAA) was busy back in June making some rule changes for the upcoming season. Rather than playing four quarters of eight minutes each, this year there will be two 18 minute halves for varsity games, which will be on a one year trial basis, making the game 36 minutes long instead of 32. (Junior Varsity games will be 16 minute halves). All four of our local coaches commented on how they think the game will change and if there will be an advantage or disadvantage with the longer game.
Colfax girls head coach Joe Doucette thinks he will like the rule change.
“There are several things that stick out with me,” he said. “It favors the deeper team and will allow us to play more players. It favors the team that is in the best condition, and it will change some coaching strategies such as when to use your timeouts,” he added.
Elk Mound girls coach Jordan Kongshaug believes the change in minutes will have an impact on the game and agrees with Doucette on who will have an advantage.
“Certainly teams with more depth will have an advantage,” Kongshaug said. “I also think there will be an increase in possessions and scoring since teams will potentially only be playing for one shot at the end of each half as opposed to the end of each quarter. It will be interesting to see how the season goes.”
Mounder boys coach Chris Hahn looks at the rule change as a positive change for basketball in Wisconsin.
“The WIAA and school districts know the value of student participation in extra curricular activities and by lengthening the game, more players will have an opportunity to play and hopefully increase the participation numbers across the state. Minnesota has been playing two halves for several years now and a few of my friends who coach up there commented that overall quality of play has improved because the flow of the game is better with less stoppages. Like any change, it will take some time for coaches and players to adjust, but I’m excited that the WIAA is willing to try to make some changes and help make our game even better,” he added.
Colfax boys coach Garrett Maas is a little worried about the players who divide time between varsity and junior varsity.
“The ‘tweeners’ as I call them used to be able to play a certain amount of quarters a night,” he said. “Now kids can only play in two halves a night so if they play in any part of both J.V. halves, they can’t play in the varsity game. That cuts down on our team depth. In Minnesota, they can play in three halves a night so kids can play in both games. And teams like us and Elk Mound who like to hold the ball the last minute of the quarter won’t be able to do that anymore. So we will just wait and see how everyone adjusts,” he added.
Another change that I hope affects us around here is the state tournament game schedule. With both Mounder teams in Division 3 and the Vikings in Division 4 for playoffs, the D3 semi-final game will be in the Thursday afternoon session and the D4 game will be Thursday evening. It would be nice to be able to watch both teams play on the same day for the semi-final and again on Saturday for a state championship!