Unusual Plays and Situations Archive

This page lists game situations and questions submitted by members with rulings and comments from the ABOA training staff.

Play: A1 gets the ball and dribbles towards his opponent's basket (Team B's) and takes a 3-point shot at Team B's basket and is also fouled. The shot goes in. How do you score it and how do you administer the foul?

Ruling: No basket. Penalize as a common foul. No free throws awarded, unless the bonus is in effect.

Comments: A ball thrown at the wrong basket is not considered a try, and by rule becomes dead immediately when the foul occurs. The player shooting at the wrong basket is also not considered in the act of shooting.

Play: Is slapping the backboard (and causing it to vibrate) permitted while legitimately attempting to block the shot?

Ruling: Legal play

Comments: The official must decide if it was a legitimate attempt to block the shot. If the slap was deemed unsportsmanlike (e.g. to taunt, or show frustration), or a deliberate act (i.e. not attempting to block the shot), then a technical foul must be called. Note that this cannot be ruled basket interference (and thus no points automatically awarded), as the basket interference rule does not cover shaking/vibrating the backboard.

Play: After a clock adjustment (to correct a timing error), 5.5 seconds remain in the fourth quarter. When the clock starts again, the officials realize the clock was incorrectly set to 5 minutes and 5 seconds. This mistake is not recognized until the clock says 5 minutes and 2 seconds. What should the officials do?

Ruling: Set clock to 2 seconds and resume play from point of interruption.

Comments: The officials had definite knowledge of how much time had elapsed, so they can correct the timing error and resume play. There is no provision to reset the clock to 5.5 seconds and redo the play.

Play: A1 ends his dribble on 1 foot, then jumps off that foot and lands on both feet. A1 then pivots with the left foot.

Ruling: Traveling violation

Comments: 4-44-2b: "neither foot can be a pivot in this case"

Play: B1 commits intentional foul on shooter A1 on a 3-point try. The shot is missed.

Ruling: Award 3 free throws for A1 and ball to team A nearest the spot of the foul.


Play: B1 commits intentional foul on shooter A1 on a 3-point try. The shot goes in.

Ruling: Count the 3-point basket. Award 2 free throws for A1 and the ball to team A nearest the spot of the foul.

Comments: The penalty for an intentional foul is always 2 free throws, unless it is a 3-point try that is missed.

Play: After a timeout, play resumes with team A having only four players on the court. The fifth player, A5, later runs on to the court while the ball is live.

Ruling: Legal play (provided A5's return was not deceitful nor gave an unfair positioning advantage)

Comments: See case book play 10.3.2 Situation B.

Play: A1 has a significant amount of blood on his jersey. However, the team does not have any extra jerseys. Can substitute A9's jersey be used, even if A9 has already played in game?

Ruling: Yes. The scorer will make all necessary changes in the scorebook without penalty.

Comments: See case book play 3.3.7 Situation A.

Play: A1 and B1 tie ball up, and as players are separating, Team B player pushes Team A player in the chest resulting in a technical foul. Which way would should the possession arrow face?

Ruling: The possession arrow will NOT be changed.

Comments: See 6-4-5. A foul by (either team) during the alternating-possession throw-in does not cause the throw-in team to lose the possession arrow.

Play: B1 commits intentional foul on A1 on a drive to the basket. The ball goes in. How many free throws are awarded?

Ruling: Count the basket and award two free throws, plus the ball to Team A for throw-in.


Play: A1 is fouled and must leave the game due to injury. Can the coach designate a player already in the game to shoot the free throws for A1? Or must it be a substitute from the bench?

Ruling: Team A coach must select a substitute from the bench.


Play: During half-time, A1 is observed dunking the ball and changed with a technical foul. The possession arrow is pointing toward Team B. After the free throws and throw-in for team B, what should happen to the possession arrow?

Ruling: The possession arrow will not be changed (i.e. still point toward team B)

Comments: See 6-4-5. This throw-in is not considered an alternating-possession throw-in, but a part of the penalty for the technical foul.

Play: :02 left on clock, player attempts Hail Mary buzzer beater that lands way short. However, it lands around free throw line and bounces up onto the basket ring. While bouncing on the ring, buzzer goes off. The ball then goes through the basket. Does the basket count?

Ruling: No basket

Comments: The try has ended when the ball touched the floor. The bounced ball does not constitute a try. When the buzzer sounds, the ball immediately becomes dead (since it is not a try/tap in flight), and no points can be scored.

Play: A1 catches a loose ball in the air and requests a time-out as he is falling out of bounds.

Ruling: Legal play; grant the timeout.

Comments: Provided A1 had inbound status when he gained control of the ball, he may request and be granted a timeout, even if airborne. See 5-8-3 and Case Book 5-8-3 situation D. Note that the NCAA rules differ in this matter.

Play: During a dead ball, someone from the stands heckles A1, who turns around and responds with profanity. How would you handle this situation?

Ruling: Penalize A1 with a technical foul. If necessary, have game management address situation with spectator in the stands.

Comments: A1 must be penalized by rule. The spectator may need to be removed depending on what he said and did -- find an administrator to handle it.

Play: A1 commits his fifth foul and fouls out of the game. On his way to the bench, he curses at the official and gets a technical foul. Who is the technical foul assessed to? Is the head coach charged an indirect technical as well?

Ruling: Technical foul charged to A1. If the head coach was already notified of A1's disqualification, then an indirect for the coach as well.

Comments: The technical foul is still charged to A1, even though it is his sixth foul. Whether the head coach also receives an indirect depends on whether A1 has become bench personnel. When A1's head coach is notified of the disqualification, A1 becomes bench personnel.

Play: As A1 drives to the basket, he is lifted up by A2 and dunks the ball.

Ruling: Cancel the score. Technical foul charged to A2.


Play: During a free throw, a defensive player fakes entering the lane in an attempt to get his opponent to violate. However, the opponent doesn't fall for it. Do we just ignore this, or should it be penalized somehow?

Ruling: Play on.

Comments: The possibility of disconcertion should still be considered.

Play: Team is shooting two free throws for technical foul. Free thrower misses first foul shot. Head coach wants to use different shooter to shoot second shot, is this allowed? Or does the first shooter have to shoot both shots?

Ruling: Legal

Comments: Under high school rules, anyone on the team may shoot either of the technical foul free throws.