Landon Hegg Bennett Dean

Huron senior guard Landon Hegg tries to get past Pierre junior guard Bennett Dean during Tuesday’s boys varsity game at Riggs Gymnasium in Pierre.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association Advisory Committee met via teleconference on Wednesday to discuss a variety of rules for the coming years.

The first rule up for proposal was a switch from quarters to halves. The rule is currently in place in Minnesota. Under the rule, all varsity teams would play two 18-minute halves with a 10-minute halftime intermission. Games below the varsity level would be played in halves of 14 minutes. If a player were to play both junior varsity and varsity, that player would only be permitted a maximum of three halves per night.

Sioux Falls Roosevelt head coach Mitch Begeman and Brandon Valley head coach Brent Deckert proposed incorporating a restricted zone, or half circle under the basket, into Class AA basketball. If a defensive player is inside the restricted zone, an offensive player who makes contact with him cannot be called for a charging foul. The rule change has been added in the NCAA and NBA to make the game safer, more fair and easier to referee.

A couple of rules impacting or implementing a mercy rule have been suggested. One such rule is that if a game is being played under the existing 30-point mercy rule, the clock shall be stopped for all free throw attempts only during the last minute of each quarter. Currently, the game clock is stopped for all free throws when a game is being played under the mercy rule for Class A and Class B basketball. The second rule impacting the mercy rule would be to put the 30-point mercy rule in effect for all classes, with the exception of when two Class AA schools play each other. For example, if the Pierre T.F. Riggs Governors were to play the Stanley County Buffaloes, the mercy rule could be used. It could not however be used if the Govs were to play the Huron Tigers.

The final set of proposals deals with the starting time for basketball practices and first allowable contests. The first proposal comes from the Sioux Falls public schools. Their proposed rule would move the starting date for practices up a week to Thanksgiving week, with the first allowable contest taking place after Thanksgiving. It would also change the number of required practices before the first game to five instead of 10. Currently, tennis and golf in the fall already have a 5 day practice minimum before the first contest. The second rule, proposed by St. Thomas More, would also move the date of the first allowable contest. The reasoning behind this proposed rule change would be to allow West River schools to play in tournaments in Wyoming that start before the currently allowed date of Dec. 11.

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