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ArlingtonCommentary: Basketball endings can drag on

Commentary: Basketball endings can drag on

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Some complain that the final stages of close baseball games can last way too long because of the many pitching changes, coach and player conferences and other reasons, but how about some basketball contests?

The final two minutes or so of close outings in that sport can last nearly 30 minutes – sometimes more. The reasons? Multiple strategic time outs are called in an attempt to change the momentum and possession, and/or stop the clock.

There also are many strategic fouls committed, resulting in scads of free throws attempted. The idea being that missed free throws will give the losing team a better chance to catch up.

The clock is stopped during all of those occasions, of course, making a game’s endings agonizingly go on and on and on.


The final minute of the recent boys high-school basketball contest between the host Langley Saxons and McLean Highlanders was one of those on-and-on endings, taking about 20 minutes to complete the last 60 seconds. There was time out after time out after time out taken, and foul after foul after foul committed, resulting in many, many free throws.

In the final 10 seconds, there were three time outs called. McLean eventually held on to win, 57-52.

The last two minutes of a recent girls high-school game between the Marshall Statesmen and Washington-Liberty Generals also took a good bit of time to complete, for the same reasons. Host W-L won, 50-44, surviving a Marshall rally. 

Do all of those late-game clock-stoppage delays add to the suspense of a close hoop contest? Or do they stymie any drama, because the endings are so drawn out?

An endless parade of free throws doesn’t make for good theater, either. Just like those multiple and boring end-of-game pitching changes in baseball contests.

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