It’s high time the Maine Principal’s Association stops playing Rip Van Wrinkle regarding girls and boys state tournament basketball games. The contests cry out for a shot clock.

Among games played in Portland, Augusta and Bangor, several involved a team with a four- or five-point lead putting a “freeze” of the ball in the waning minutes of the games. The stall required the losing team to foul the opponent in order to change possession of the ball. The play is always expected by fans, coaches and referees, and it assures the winning team of foul shots to increase its lead.

Shot clocks have existed in professional and college basketball for years, for good reason. I don’t think it’s fair to make the losing team foul their opponent in order to gain possession of the ball and attempt to even the score. Does such a thing happen in football? Nope. Baseball? Nope again. But most close high school basketball games see it.

Without a shot clock, it would be possible for a basketball team to lead at half time 25 points, play freeze ball for the second half and win. It hasn’t happened yet, but it could.

The Maine Principal’s Association needs to pass a shot clock rule, at least for basketball championship games when it’s Gold Ball time.

During this year’s TV coverage of the boys Class C playoff game between Calais and Dirigo, Calais had a 46 to 31 lead, with 6:49 left in the third period and the commentators started talking about a stall in the play.

At the start of the high school tournament, game officials emphasize the need for good sportsmanship, but their rules ice it over. It’s time the principals association practices what it preaches.

John Benoit, Manchester

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