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Tempo Free Notes: High School Edition

Waiting for baseline out of bounds, QP versus Vernon
Waiting for baseline out of bounds, QP versus Vernon

NORTH ARLINGTON, NJ - On what hopefully can be a regular contribution, we take a look at tempo free analysis on the high school girls level...

The tempo free analysis and breakdowns would be outstanding in the high school game. Coaches could show how efficient a particular offense or defense is. Teams going through a rough season or stretch could set points per possession goals for their games. Achieving those goals would show improvement is eminent. Even if the won-lost ledger would be unforgiving. Finally, coaches could preach the value of a possession and prove how detrimental turnovers could be.

The problem with analysis on a high school level is the absence of a detailed final stat sheet. Even box scores in the newspaper frequently do not list free throws attempted. Turnovers? Forget that unless mentioned in a game story. Calculating possessions on a high school level is often left up to a dedicated and accurate statistician or manager. Remember, on calculations, offensive rebounds extend a possession. The possessions can only end on made shots (or free throws), misses rebounded by the defense and turnovers.

Earlier this week, took in the William Ferguson Classic here in North Arlington. Watched a few high school girls games and charted possession. The first day, the officiating schedule only allowed me to take in the last half of the opening game and first half of the last semifinal. The following afternoon the entire consolation was charted. The numbers and analysis. Keep in mind, efficiency is simply points per possession multiplied by 100:


Vernon 45 Queen of Peace 28

At the half Vernon led 23-14. The second half numbers:


Vernon 34

QP 34

Points Efficiency

Vernon 22 65

QP 14 41

Second Half Turnovers

Vernon 10

QP 16

Fourth quarter saw Queen of Peace with one stretch with six consecutive possessions ending in a turnover. The turnover rates (percentages of possessions ending in a turnover):

Vernon 29%

QP 47%

The second semi saw Glen Ridge defeat North Arlington 53-25. The first half numbers:


Glen Ridge 35

NA 36

Points Efficiency

Glen Ridge 21 60

NA 17 47

North Arlington actually led 17-7 after the first quarter. They had a ‘shutout', zero points on 17 possessions in the second quarter. In addition, the Lady Vikings had 12 turnovers (a 71% TO rate) during that eight minute stretch. In fact, following the first quarter NA managed just eight points the rest of the way.

The third pace game saw Queen of Peace, located two blocks away, defeat their in town rival Nortb Arlington 55-24. The first half:


QP 34

NA 34

Points Efficiency

QP 27 79

NA 11 32

The final game numbers:


QP 59

NA 60

Points Efficiency

QP 55 93

NA 24 40

North Arlington committed 17(28% TO rate) turnovers to the 14 (23% rate) of queen of Peace. While neither game saw teams relentlessly pushing the pace, thought there were a good amount of possessions for a 32 minute high school contest. Even the semis were a roughly high 60 to 70 possession tempo. In a game eight minutes less than the collegiate, that is a lot of possessions especially with no shot clock here in New Jersey.

NA coach Karen smith, in her second year at the helm, remains upbeat and enthusiastic. She thought the turnover number was higher than 17 but said the biggest problem is, ‘we go through long stretches without scoring. That has been as problem for us. With a young team we do a lot of teaching in practice but we are looking for someone to step up and become a scorer."

Player I noticed and admired was Lia Rodriquez of Queen of Peace. She is about 5-8, works well inside, runs the floor, can hit the perimeter shot and put the ball on the deck. A really nice player. She scored 24 points in the consolation and the frustrating point for NA is, she lives in North Arlington but decided to enroll at Queen of Peace.

For the record, Vernon won the championship defeating Glen Ridge 53-37.

Tuesday after the New year the regular season resumes for these teams. By the 'luck of the draw' next Thursday sees North Arlington face Queen of peace in a conference matchup. "We'll get back to work," Smith said, "and hopefully give them a much better game this time around."

Getting back to practice and the New Year creates optimism.