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How Long Do High School Basketball Games Actually Last?

Do you intend to attend a live high school basketball game? If so, you must be ready to watch the game for longer than an hour.

How Long Is A High School Football Game?

There are many different factors to consider when you’re planning your time to watch or play a basketball game – those of which we’ll go over in this article. 

Lots of different things can influence the length of a match, such as timeouts and general delays.

So, you’re best off making sure you have a good amount of free time so you can catch the game in its entirety and not miss anything important.

A school basketball game has a regulation duration of less than an hour, but because of the many events that take place during the game, it lasts longer.

How long is a basketball game in high school? A high school basketball match  typically lasts 1.5 hours.

High school basketball games last roughly 42 minutes in base regulation time. Four quarters are present. 32 minutes, or eight minutes every quarter, are allotted. 42 minutes total, with a 10-minute break at the halfway point. 

The length of the entire game might increase to around 1.5 hours or more due to fouls, timeouts, and clock interruptions, among other factors.

Continue reading to find out how long a school basketball match lasted and why some games go on for so long.

How Long Does A High School Basketball Game Last?

Most basketball supporters don’t mind spending time watching their favourite team play. They don’t care how long they watch because the sport is so engrossing to them.

Simply put, it’s fun, particularly if your team succeeds. If your team loses, however, it’s quite the opposite.

High school basketball games must last at least 32 minutes. A high school basketball game is divided into four quarters, each lasting eight minutes. This adds up to 32 minutes.

You must still take into account the halftime break, though. The players require their breaks in order to return to the action invigorated for the second period. 

The official format calls for a 10-minute rest between both the second and the third quarters. So we will have a total of 42 minutes, which is made up of 32 minutes and 10 minutes (halftime break).

However, that is merely the legal time. The game’s 42 minutes can feel like much more than one hour or even two hours because of all the events that take place within it.

What Is The Usual Length Of A High School Basketball Game?

How much time do high school basketball matches typically last? High school basketball matches typically last between an hour and a half and more than two hours, as was previously noted. 

These basketball games can last anywhere from a few minutes to many hours depending on the different play styles, the amount of fouls called, the level of competitiveness, and many other factors.

There must be a winner in each basketball game. If there is a tie at the close of regular, overtime will be played, lasting an additional five minutes.

However, there are a few more seconds or perhaps even minutes spent getting the players, coaches, and referees ready before overtime begins.

A second overtime will be played if the game’s score is still equal after the first one. This lesson will continue until a team triumphs.

Four to five overtime periods are common in high school basketball games. In actuality, 13 OTs are the most ever recorded.

How Long Does A High School Basketball Game Live On TV Last?

High school basketball matches with television coverage will be even longer.  If you intend to watch your preferred high school’s basketball team on television, plan on devoting upwards of two hours to the activity. 

Typically, pre- and post-game interviews with players, basketball commentators, and others are conducted by TV hosts. Usually, the time spent on these reviews is in addition to the time spent playing the game.

Pre-Game Show

Normally starting 30 minutes prior to the start of the game, the pre-game show takes place which will take up a little more time. The host will frequently speak with a basketball expert to make predictions about the upcoming game.

After-Game Show

The post-game show typically lasts for 10-15 minutes and is a little bit shorter. The hosts frequently speak with both the star player on the losing squad and the game’s MVP.

The analyst might also attempt to analyze what transpired in the recently ended game and how it might affect the subsequent games of the two teams.

To determine the overall amount of time spent on that particular game, add the times permitted for the before- and after-game shows to the time the game actually ended.

A basketball television match will last between two hours to three hours if the typical game lasts between 1.5 and two hours.

Playoff Games

The length of school basketball playoffs exceeds that of regular season games. High school baseball playoff games typically last 15 to 20 minutes more than typical games.

The reason is due to the increase in free throws, in-game and post-game analysis, substitutions, timeouts, etc. during the playoffs.

Therefore, if you intend to see a school basketball game on TV, be prepared to commit at least two to three hours, if not more.

Timekeeping In High School Basketball Games

In a sporting event, and particularly in a basketball game, the clock is the most important weapon. How do people keep track of time while playing a game?

When the clock begins during a basketball game, it will keep ticking until any of the following occurs:

  • An official declares a foul
  • Taking his free shots after a foul
  • A manager or a referee may signal a timeout
  • The ball leaves the bounds

The clock begins to run again as soon as a player touches the inbound ball. The play clock is turned on, and the clock begins to run out. 

States throughout the USA do not always mandate shot clocks. The 35-second play clock utilized by the NCAA is followed in US states with shot clock laws.

The Shot Clock

Some jurisdictions use the shot clock to quicken the tempo of the game. Without it, players frequently extend the shots as a component of their overall game plan. 

The shot clock resets to 35 seconds if the ball strikes the hoop but does not fall into the corresponding hole. The game clock will still run out if the ball misses the rim, though.

In the event that a player shoots and sinks a ball in the final seconds of play, overtime will be played. 

Basketball doesn’t have tied games as other sports do. The timer will be extended by five more minutes. A school basketball game should always have a winner, regardless of how long it lasts.


How Long Do High School Basketball Games Actually Last?

Basketball teams need timeouts to regroup. They plan their plays during these intervals in accordance to what is occurring on the court.

These intervals also provide the athletes more time to breathe, rest, and recuperate from the exertion of running back and forth.

A team in basketball in high school is permitted a total of five timeouts. A timeout may be requested by the coaching staff or any active team member. 

Three out of the five timeouts—each lasting 60 seconds—are referred to as complete timeouts.

Two out of the five breaks in play have a duration of just 30 seconds apiece and are available exclusively at the beginning of the game.

Teams are permitted to use all of their timeouts in one quarter or to save some for the last one. Each side will have one full timeout if there is overtime.

Any timeouts that weren’t used during the allotted time will be rolled over to the additional time.

What Else Influences How Long A High School Basketball Game Lasts?

You need to be aware of key aspects that influence how long a basketball game is in order to know how lengthy high school games are.

The potential outcomes of a game of basketball involving two teams are shown below, along with the typical length of a basketball game.

High school basketball games are divided into four quarters. The varsity level has eight minutes per quarter, while junior varsity has 6-7 minutes.

  • Halftime – There is a 10-minute halftime break in the middle of the game.
  • Five team penalties are permitted every quarter for team fouls.
  • Each side is given a total of five timeouts every game. There are three complete timeouts, each lasting 60 seconds. The final two timeouts each last for 30 seconds. A team had the option of using all of its breaks in play in one quarter or saving them for the final period. The game might end with extra timeouts in the final two minutes, which would just make it last almost an hour longer.
  • Ball Possessions: The 35-second game clock begins to run if there are shifts in player possessions or if the ball contacts the rim. The NFHS only enforces this shot clock restriction in eight states. The remaining states do not adhere to this norm. Their matches are typically lengthier, which may account for this.
  • More (Strategic) Fouls – To halt the 35-second shot clock, the trailing team might commit more fouls. The length of the game will increase because it will give players extra time to catch up.

Some of the things that cause a high school basketball game to last longer include the aforementioned elements.

Only eight states enforce the standing shot clock regulation, hence the majority of high school basketball organizations do not.

If any of the aforementioned events take place for individuals who adhere to this guideline, the shot clock is stopped. Whenever the shot clock restarts, it will be rolled over if there are still 10 seconds or under left.

Who Decides How Long A High School Basketball Game Will Last?

High school basketball rules are established by the National Federation State High School Association – or the NFHS in short. It  is this organization that determines how long a basketball game should last.

In all 50 states and Washington, DC, basketball games for boys and girls are governed by the NFHS. Approximately 18,500 member schools abide by their regulations. 

This organization makes sure that the athletic competition is uniform across all of the country’s high schools.

What High School Basketball Game Has Been Played The Longest In History?

Boone Trail High School Vs. Angier High School

The contest involving Angier High School against Boone Trail High was the longest basketball game between two high schools ever recorded.

The contest was held in Campbell University’s Carter Gym. At the conclusion of regulation time, the score was 44–44.

Before one of the two rival teams emerged victorious, there were 13 overtime periods. Without any substitutes, both clubs finished the game with their five starting players.

Boone Trail High won by a score of 54 to 52 in the final contest.

The first buzzer sounded at 8:30 p.m., while the final alarm was heard right before the clock struck midnight. Boone Trail High defeated Angier High, and by only two points, after almost three hours and a half of play.

The victorious team’s top scorer shot 29 points.

Swayzee Vs. Liberty Center

The next-longest high school game ever recorded in the United States is likely the contest involving Liberty Center and Swayzee. Swayzee won this game after nine additional overtime periods.

The match lasted 59 minutes, according to a member of the winning team. The player claimed that it was roughly twice as lengthy as a typical game. Swayzee had won by a score of 65-61 at the final buzzer.

Final Thoughts

What is the duration of a high school level basketball game, then? An average high school game can go up to two hours and last about 1.5 hours.

There is a 42-minute basic regulation time. Each game lasts 32 minutes and consists of four 8-minute quarters. After that, there is a 10-minute halftime break, bringing the overall number of play minutes to 42.

But the average high school basketball game actually lasts between an hour and a half and two hours. Timeouts, delay, and fouls are a few of the factors that might extend the duration of the game.

So, it is best to dedicate at least a couple of hours if you’re planning on watching a high school basketball match, or even three hours if you’re watching it live on TV!

Simon Lewis

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