Basketball Specialty Plays: Offense and Defense Under Pressure

Gregg Marshall all by Gregg Marshall

Head Basketball Coach Wichita State University
all basketball | clinics

It's late in the game. There are only a few seconds on the clock. Your down by 2, maybe 3. You've got to score. Your opponent is sweating it out. They have to keep you from scoring before the buzzer sounds. Both offense and defense need special strategies for these "end of the game" situations. Well, MyCoachOnline just happens to have a few for you - courtesy of Coach Gregg Marshall! As Head Basketball Coach for Wintrop University (Rockhill, South Carolina), Coach Marshall has led the Winthrop Eagles to five NCAA tournament appearances during his seven seasons there. Everything from the Spread Motion Offense to a Three-quarter Court Zone Defense is put into motion as coach draws the X's and O's of these high pressure situations. Zone pressure. Time pressure. Man pressure. Whatever the challenge, this basketball strategy series has the solution. Now, take some pressure off your feet, have a seat, and watch these videos.

Introduction to Specialty Plays: Playing the Game to the End

It's late in the game. You have a chance to score - if you've taught your players to "play the game to the end." In this overview of basketball specialty plays, Coach Marshall emphasizes the need to use time-outs effectively and to communicate explicitly with players..... especially when the clock is winding down.

Basketball Offensive Play: The Box and The Box Time Out

These two offensive plays are used to get the basketball on the court so you are in a position to score. Designed for use late in the game under pressure, the Box and the Box Time Out give your team the moves they need to get the shot - and the score.

Basketball Offensive Play: The "Havlicek"

Another late in the game specialty play when you need to get the ball moving for two points. This sideline play opens up four options for your team to score. The action begins on the slap of the basketball and ends with two points!

Basketball Offensive Play: The Havlicek Three

You need three points to win the game. Two, maybe three, seconds are on the clock. Your guys are going to have to move and move fast. BUT, they need a strategy - not a rushed shot. That's where this play comes in. Opening up four options for the score, the Havlicek Three is a specialty play that works.

Basketball Offensive Play: The Niagra

Nothing falls here but your opponent. This offensive play strategy relies on a strong arm and a long pass. Offensive players have to be ready to go as soon as the ball is handed to the quarterback. Whoa! First waterfalls, then football. What about basketball? I am so confused. Your opponent will be too. But, your team will be right on target!

Basketball Offensive Play: The Niagra Three and The Gap

The Niagra Three - sounds like waterfall fugitives, doesn't it? But, nothing on the run here but the clock. It's the Niagra Play when three points are a must. Then there's the "Gap" Play. The Gap "fills in" (okay, bad pun, I admit it) when you have about 8 seconds left in the game working against man pressure AND zone pressure.

Basketball Offensive Play: The Fade and The Fade Three

You guessed it. The Fade is an offensive specialty play for those end of game situations when you have to score two points with only eight seconds showing on the clock. But, in case you're really pressured and have to go for three, the Fade Three is the play to put in motion.

Basketball Offensive Play: The Corner

The Corner is a great basketball offensive play when you're up against zone pressure. Coming right out of the single offense, this play gives you three scoring options for either the 2 or the 3 point shot.

Basketball Offensive Play: The Spin and The Blitz

The Spin is a dribble over offensive play that uses a quick ball reversal and fade screen against a one guard front. What? You have a two guard front to deal with? Then it's time for the Blitz. The defense won't know what hit 'em.

Basketball Defensive Play: The Gold

So the offense has been using all of these plays and you're getting pounded. Time for some specialty DEFENSIVE plays. First up: the Gold Defense. Changing defensive strategy during a game keeps your opponent off balance giving you an edge just when you need it. The Gold Defense uses the best of the best players to confuse the offense.

Basketball Defensive Play: The 95 Press and The 95 Hard

The "95 Press" is a zone press defense. You want to get a great trap or a 10 second count. But, what if you need points before the buzzer? Go with the "95 Hard". With the "95 Hard" Defense, you force the ball where you want it to be in-bounded. With a sprint and a steal, you're back in the game.

The Center Field Face Defense with "The Special" Offensive Response and The "101" Defense

You are out of time! No time for traps or 10 counts. You've got to steal the in-bounds. This is a total face denial defense that forces the offense to throw over and go deep. So, what's your offensive response? A Step Out Play called The "Special". The "Special" works against total denial with a screen fake and a sprint out of bounds. Back to defense: the "101" is a man-to-man defense for trapping the point guard. After a free throw or dead ball, the "101" gets you back into full court action.

The "75" Defense & The Spread Motion Offense

It's late in the game and you're ahead. You can relax now. Yeah, right! Now, the clock is your enemy because there is TOO MUCH time. The "75" is a three-quarter court zone defense that takes time - your opponent's time - to beat. Back to Offense. (Okay, my head is spinning too, but try to keep up with me.) Your ahead and battling that excessive clock again. Go to a Spread Motion offense. This is a hard-cutting, passing offense. The basketball won't spend much time on the floor or in your opponent's hands.

Basketball Offensive Play: The Connecticut & Flex Cut-Dump In

The Connecticut is a break-down basketball offense run out of Spread Motion. This is an excellent late game, man-to-man offense designed to get the shot. The Flex Cut-Dump In can be run out of Spread Motion, at the end of the shot clock, or at the end of the game. Starting with the Point Guard at center court, this offense uses a hard Flex Cut to get players in position to "dump" the basketball for 2 points.