BILLINGS - As the postseason quickly approaches for high school basketball in Montana, many are eagerly awaiting a new look to the game in the state. 
The MHSA recently approved the addition of a shot clock to high school basketball for all classifications. It's a move well received by many in the media, including myself, and others on social media. 
Among those who seemed elated about a shot clock are fans of basketball for schools like Lodge Grass and Hardin, who are known for traditionally playing a fast brand of basketball. Lodge Grass Head Boys Basketball Coach Josh Stewart says many have wondered for years, what if there was a shot clock? 
"When we were growing up there was a lot of teams that would just stall the whole time. They were okay with an 18-22 victory and clearly, it's not like that anymore thankfully," Stewart said. 
Overall, Stewart thinks the new rule will push Montana's coaches and teams to get smarter about the way they approach the game. 
"Now, they will have to be quick to get into their offense, be more efficient and track their points and passes per possession and what not if they aren't already doing that. We try to do that, and it helps us be more efficient," said Stewart. 
Another consideration has been the cost of implanting shot clocks statewide. The question has been asked, what about the smaller schools? Bridger athletic director, Jim Goltz, doesn't seem to think it should be a problem. 
"I've heard prices ranges from as low as $2,900 all the way up to $3,700, $4,500 depending on what you get. I think Daktronics, I already had an email from them, they are aware of the vote and the outcome and seem to be willing to work with schools," said Goltz. 
Goltz is also a basketball official and says he and the others are excited for how a shot clock can change the high school game. Also, a member of the MHSA board, Goltz said if it's fundraising, sponsorships, or taking it out of a part of the budget, he's not concerned about schools being able to come up with the money. 

Bridger is currently building a new gym that already planned on having shot clocks installed. Lockwood is currently playing its first varsity season in Class A, and their gym also already features shot clocks. 
Athletic Director Mike Erickson said the facility was made to host a variety of events, including college, so they made the decision to add the shot clocks before the MHSA made the recent decision. 
"Still, we're under a lot of the same hurdles as other schools. We play in two separate gyms. So yes, we have it in our main gym now we have to look at we play in an auxiliary gym and a middle school gym in the future. So, will there be a cost to our school in the future? Yes, possibly," said Erickson. 
Erickson clarified a shot clock may not be implemented into high school basketball next season. The MHSA is sending a survey to member schools soon to decide what a shot clock will actually look like, and if it comes into effect in 2022 or 2023. 
Other considerations are whether or not a shot clock will be used at the varsity level exclusively, or at multiple levels. Once that survey is complete, schools will know how many shot clocks they need to purchase for multiple facilities.  

Recommended for you