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‘I’m excited about it’: IHSA to use shot clock for all varsity basketball games in 2026-27



The IHSA will usher in a 35-second shot clock for all its boys and girls varsity basketball games beginning in the 2026-27 school year.  

The measure was approved on Monday. The sports governing body permitted the use of the shot clock in regular season tournaments beginning in 2022.

“The IHSA has allowed the shot clock to be used in tournaments and shootouts the past two seasons, and the overwhelming feedback we have received from coaches is that it is time to embrace the shot clock in all varsity contests,” IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said in a press release. “We believe the two-season lead time will provide our schools with ample opportunity to install the shot clocks and get comfortable with them from both a coaching and game administration perspective.” 

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Taylorville’s annual boys basketball holiday tournament has implemented the shot clock over the past two years.

“I’m excited about it,” Taylorville coach Ryan Brown said. “Certainly I think a lot of people are worried about getting a couple of sloppy shots at the end of shot clock situations. Honestly, I think it helps you on defense more than anything. You don’t have to play defense for longer than 35 seconds. I think the pros significantly outweigh the cons in my opinion.”

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations in 2023, 27 states use the shot clock in some capacity and at least fourteen states have added the shot clock since it endorsed the measure in 2021.

Brown said the advent of the shot clock may affect certain teams but believes it will ramp up the quality of play. He added there were likely less than 10 shot clock violations over 24 tournament games at Dolph Stanley Court.

“For whatever reason high school basketball in America has not had a shot clock and literally every level internationally has a shot clock,” Brown said. “We’re kind of the last of a dying breed. I think it helps. It certainly helps your defense. It helps having a playmaker at the end of a shot clock with 5 seconds left, there’s no question about that, but I think it just makes the game exciting to me.”

The board also tweaked the boys and girls basketball state finals schedule to ensure that each team gets to compete two days. In recent state finals, teams that lost in the semifinals competed later the same day. 

“It’s been fairly unanimous in the Illinois high school basketball community that moving the state tournament to a single-weekend format has been a success,” Anderson said. “Our coaches believe this new schedule will provide an even better experience for all the student-athletes, coaches, and fans.”

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