ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)– Basketball is always evolving. The three-point shot for instance has made a huge impact. The next big change at the high school level could be the addition of a shot clock. For the first time this season the IHSA has allowed schools to use shot clocks on an experimental basis during holiday tournaments and shootout tournaments. DeKalb was one local school that used it during the holidays at its Chuck Dayton Holiday Classic.

We’re used to seeing shot clocks suspended above backboards at college and NBA games. This is a new look at the high school level. DeKalb purchased these shot clocks three or four years ago with the knowledge that shot clocks would eventually find their way into the IHSA, but this was the first time these clocks were used.

“Mike (basketball coach Mike Reynolds) and I looked at it right when they said something about it, the IHSA. We both looked at each other and said we’ve got to try this,” said DeKalb athletic director Peter Goff.

At the high school level the shot clock is 35 seconds. Guilford was one of the teams that played in the DeKalb Tournament with the clock.

Guilford’s head coach is Chris Dixon. “It did have a little impact as far as holding the basketball, some of the sets. Usually teams can hold the ball longer to get into their sets where they were rushed a little bit to get into them because they’re not used to it, but I think it brought exciting play to the game to where the kids weren’t kind of sitting back because they knew the shot clock was in, and they were playing a little faster.”

In this game between Guilford and Chicago Marshall both teams generally took shots long before the shot clock approached zero. Most of the time they took shots before the clock even reached ten seconds, but just the presence of the clocks made the players play a little faster.

“We had a couple of rushed shots because we thought some time was going off faster than what it was,” said Guilford guard Marquez Jordan.

“We played faster. We had to speed up our offense,” said Guilford senior Mekhi Doby.

The clock certainly came into play in the final two minutes when Marshall was nursing a small lead. Normally a team in that situation would play keep away, milking the clock waiting to be fouled, but in this instance, Marshall was forced to shoot the ball which gave Guilford more opportunities to come back and win the game which the Vikings did 49-48.

Whether or not shot clocks become a regular part of IHSA games will probably come down to money. A mounted high school shot clock can run anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.

“It just depends on how it’s going to be funded, and just the staffing,” said Goff. “I’m paying someone 35 dollars to run it.”

Yes, an additional person is needed to run the shot clock. Goff says that there’s no way a normal scoreboard operator can do that while also fulfilling his other duties.

“There’s one sitting here, the regular scoreboard person is sitting to the right. They’re in charge of the time and the score and how many fouls there are, so you need two people. One person, there’s no way it could happen.”

If the money issue can be resolved, shot clocks will probably come into full play in the IHSA. High School players are all for it, primarily because they want to do everything that the college players are doing.

“They watch TV. They watch college sports.  They watch the NBA (which has shot clocks),” said Dixon.

“It’s getting us ready for the next level,” said Doby.

So if the decision were up to Doby would he say, yea, let’s go with this thing permanently or not?

“Yea, of course,” said Doby.

“Yea it’s way better,” agreed Jordan. “It makes it more fun and competitive.”

What would coach Dixon tell the IHSA if it called him up and asked him about his opinion on the shot clock?

“I’d tell them I’m right there. Let’s do it. Let’s do it.”

“We always talk that we’re preparing kids for their futures,” said Goff. “Like I said before, if they’re going to play college basketball, they have to get used to a shot clock.

“To speed up the game at high school and to get ready, I think it would be a great thing for all our schools in the state of Illinois to do it.”

The IHSA is gathering feedback from coaches and athletic directors that have used the shot clock in these tournaments to see how it worked out.