NFHS eliminates 1-and-1 foul shots from high school basketball rulebook

Monday, May 15, 2023 | 5:13 PM

The pressure of shooting a one-and-one is likely to vanish from high school basketball.

The national organization that writes the rulebook used by the PIAA has changed the way fouls are counted and the number of bonus shots a player receives. Most notably, the National Federation of State High School Associations has eliminated one-and-ones from its basketball rules for next season, preferring instead for players to shoot two shots.

In another major change, the NFHS said team fouls should be counted on a quarter-by-quarter basis rather than by half, and only five fouls are needed to reach the bonus.

The NFHS announced the changes Monday, prompting coaches to wonder how they might impact the game.

“Originally, I thought it would really help teams just hack the hell out of people,” said Lincoln Park boys coach Mike Bariski, whose Leopards won WPIAL and PIAA titles this season. “But now, I’m thinking it’s really going to benefit the better teams. You can’t just foul to foul and hope they miss the front end of a one-and-one.”

The PIAA typically adopts NFHS rulebook changes, but they are not enacted automatically. PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said the PIAA board must approve rulebooks and any modifications each July after coaches, game officials and others have reviewed them.

Under the new NFHS rule, teams will reach the bonus and receive two free throws starting with the fifth foul of a quarter. However, a team’s foul total resets to zero after every quarter.

Previously, teams were awarded a one-and-one bonus when an opponent committed seven fouls in a half. They didn’t receive a two-shot bonus until an opponent reached 10 fouls in a half.

The format approved by the NFHS is already used in women’s college basketball, said WPIAL officials representative Nick Morea, who also is a shot-clock operator for Pitt-Johnstown and Duquesne. Morea said he favored the rule change.

“It streamlines the game,” he said. “The game is so much cleaner with two foul shots rather than worrying about one and one.”

The rule change was approved by the NFHS basketball committee in late April, and later by the NFHS board of directors. The organization cited injury prevention among the motivating factors.

“The rules committee studied data that showed higher injury rates on rebounding situations and saw this as an opportunity to reduce opportunities for rough play during rebounds,” NFHS administrator Lindsey Atkinson said in a statement. “Additionally, resetting the fouls each quarter will improve game flow and allow teams to adjust their play by not carrying foul totals to quarters two and four.”

The idea of resetting team fouls to zero after every quarter is significant, said South Fayette girls coach Bryan Bennett, a two-time reigning WPIAL champion. A team could finish the first quarter in the bonus, but start the second with five more fouls to give.

“If you’re a team that’s able to pressure the basketball and have a little depth, the resetting of the fouls at the end of each quarter is going to be to your advantage, for sure,” Bennett said. “I think that will be the big key. Teams that really like to pressure, they’re going to have a little more of an advantage.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at or via Twitter .

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