By Anthony Jones
History was made at the thirty eighth edition of the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic.
For the first time in the basketball tournament’s illustrious history, a shot clock was used. The 35 second clock was used as part of an experimental IHSA policy that allowed tournaments and shootouts to apply for shot clock permits.
The honors of playing the first game of the tournament belonged to the Mundelein Mustangs and O’Fallon Panthers on Dec. 28.
With 3:43 remaining in the third quarter, the game accelerating timer buzzed for the first time – indicating a shot clock violation. Mundelein committed the miscue, which resulted in loss of possession.
Through the day’s remaining seven games, six more violations would be committed. The buzzer-triggering possessions tended to come in the second half, with only two occuring before halftime.
Violations were significantly slashed down on the second day of the thirty two game tournament.
Using a sample of eight games played on day two, there were only three shot clock violations. One of those miscues came in the second quarter and the other two occurred in fourth quarter action.
The final day of the tournament saw the thirty five second clock’s buzzer remain fairly silent, as there were only two violations. Data from the third day included a sample of seven games.
Despite the quick decrease in violations, data indicates that teams held possession longer as the Collinsville hosted action went on.
The tournament saw nine shots taken with three or less seconds on the clock on the opening day. That total increased to 12 on games measured on day two and 15 on day three.
Throughout the 23 games measured, no team committed multiple shot clock violations in a single game.
Shot clock violations had no correlation with winning matchups, as teams that finished with more violations than their opponent finished with a 4-4 record.
The most notable effect of the clock was an increase in late game possessions, opening the door for larger comeback attempts.
One such occurrence came when the Althoff Crusaders, who trailed by 21 points late in the third quarter to Rockford East, lost by a total of three points. Triad has a similar rally against McCluer North, trailing by 17 late in the third and losing by two after a late buzzer-beater hit the rim.
The lone overtime period of the event came during the semi-final battle between the MacArthur Generals and the Belleville East Lancers, showing further influence from the 35 second clock.
Avoiding the usual occurrence of minutes-long possessions usually found in extra periods, 11 total shots were taken from the field across the four minute period. MacArthur outscored their foe 10-4 to win the game 71-65 enroute to the second championship in as many years.