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Shot clock on its way to Class B basketball

The countdown is on. Following the footsteps of Class AA and Class A, Class B boys and girls basketball will implement a 35-second shot clock for all games, starting in the 2017-18 season. The South Dakota High School Activities Association board...

The countdown is on.

Following the footsteps of Class AA and Class A, Class B boys and girls basketball will implement a 35-second shot clock for all games, starting in the 2017-18 season.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors passed the motion at its regular April meeting on Tuesday in Pierre. The proposal passed the Basketball Advisory Committee with a 7-0 vote and was approved by Class B athletic directors with a 41-28 vote at the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association annual meeting earlier this month.

"I think in South Dakota, we've just been needing it for a while," said Sanborn Central/Woonsocket boys basketball co-head coach Troy Olson. "College basketball has improved its entertainment value for fans enjoyment, and South Dakota high school basketball is now doing the same. It's finally starting to trickle down from the 'AA' to the 'As,' it was really time for Class B to get it, too."

With the rule change, all three classes in South Dakota will now be playing with the same rules.

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"I'm happy, I think it's a good deal. Everyone has been pushing for it, I'm glad they passed it," Howard girls basketball head coach Wade Erickson said. "I don't like a slow down game, I like a fast style. It had a lot of support."

The change moves alongside a growing trend with the sport of basketball and the shot clock, which was first used in the National Basketball Association at 24 seconds in 1954. College basketball followed suit in the 1980s with a 45-second shot, a 35-second shot clock in 1993, and most recently, a 30-second shot clock for the 2015-16 season.

"It's just the trend in basketball," Platte-Geddes athletic director and boys basketball head coach Frank Cutler said. "It'll clean up the end of the games and you won't see as many fouls. It's a good thing."

In South Dakota, the 35-second shot clock went into effect in Class AA for the 2008-09 season and Class A teams joined in the 2014-15 season. The Class B rule change comes one year after Class B athletic directors voted 37-32 against implementing the shot clock and the SDHSAA board followed suit.

"I think it's great. The other two classes have it, we need to have it," Ethan girls basketball head coach Tom Young said. "We need to be on the same page as other schools. When we play at Class A teams at their place, it's a disadvantage because we aren't used to it. Now we can play other classes and everything will be equal."

Not everyone sees the change as a positive for the sport. Longtime Armour and Tripp-Delmont/Armour boys basketball coach Burnell Glanzer said the shot clock isn't good for the sport.

"I'm kind of old-fashioned I guess. Most young people didn't know there was basketball before the shot clock," said Glanzer, who stepped down from coaching in 2012 after 37 years and a career record of 617-209. "My idea of basketball is working hard, working together to get the best possible shot you can get. If that takes 30 seconds, great. If it takes a minute and 30 seconds, great. As long as your team has the discipline to do that, don't penalize them."

Glanzer added the rule forces teams to play a faster style and gives good teams more possessions.

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"We're legislating away upsets," Glanzer said. "You force teams that might not have the talent to shoot the ball before they've had a chance to use their discipline a little bit to get a shot against a better team. You are legislating the outcome of the game instead of letting the kids decide it."

Shot clock proponents say the change helps create a more dramatic finish for games.

"It will make the situations at the end of games a lot more interesting," said Hanson boys head coach Josh Oltmanns, who won a Class B state title with the Beavers in 2015. "It should be a good thing for all of basketball."

Cutler, a Class A state champion in 2008 and runner-up in Class B in 2014, agreed with Oltmanns the shot clock will make the game even more exciting.

"Being a basketball coach for quite a while, I think it's a pretty exciting game," Cutler said. "Having people getting the ball up to the basket is a fun thing, and scoring is a fun thing for people to watch and for kids to play."

Financial implications

Along with the changes to the sport, the shot clock rule will also have a financial impact on Class B schools.

Glanzer said he was given an unverified estimate of $12,000 for shot clocks to be installed for the Armour gym.

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"The money isn't the biggest part about it, it's the philosophy for me," Glanzer said. "But the money is significant. It's going to be a pain for the small schools."

Glanzer added finding volunteers to run the game clock and keep book is already a struggle for some schools. With the shot clock, another person needs to be in charge of running and resetting the clock.

"I have trouble getting people to run the clock right now. Now you have to put someone in this position, which will be busier than any of them," Glanzer said. "They have to know the rules real well and know when it resets."

Cutler, Oltmanns and Olson all agreed the financial impact of installing and operating the clocks will have a greater impact on Class B schools compared to Class AA and Class A.

"It may be a little bit of burden for Class B schools," Cutler said. "I don't think it's going to be too much that schools can't handle it. It's just going to be an adjustment."

Olson added finding people to operate the shot clock may be more of a challenge than the money for installing the shot clocks.

"From a cost standpoint, budgets are always tight. But people can come up with money for that," Olson said. "It might prove difficult to find someone to operate it."

Finally, Glanzer noted for small co-op schools that play in two gyms, the shot clock rule causes even more stress.

"We're going to have to put them up in both gyms for half the number of games," said Glanzer, who is the athletic director for TDA, which plays games in Tripp and Armour. "It's not economically sound, but if you want to stay in the game that's what you have to do. All the home games at one site isn't going to fly."

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