Basketball Half Court Rules

Written by nicholas pell
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Basketball Half Court Rules
Half court basketball has its own rules and considerations. (basketball image by jimcox40 from

Particularly in cities where blacktop courts are precious commodities, half court basketball is a popular pastime. It allows double the number of players to get a pickup game going at the same time. However, due to the reduced size of the court and presence of only one basket, there are different rules for half court basketball. Knowing the rules before you play will reduce conflict on the court.


Games are generally played by teams of the same gender. Teams each need at least three players at the start of a game. However teams can continue or end play with as few as two players. Teams are allowed no more than seven substitutes for a single game. Substitutions are to be made when play is stopped or after a scored basket or foul shot.

Check Line

A check line is a designated line used in half court basketball. The ball must be returned to this line in certain situations when possession changes hands, such as after a basket is scored. The check line is either at the three point line or the circumference of the centre circle. The check line is used to simulate the experience of having a full basketball court. When the ball is turned over or there is a defensive rebound, the player who gains possession of the ball must go behind the check line with both feet. It is not necessary to pass the ball in, so the possessing player may retain the ball as play starts.


If the score is tied when the clock runs down the game goes into overtime. Two minutes are added to the clock. If the score remains tied at the end of this two minute overtime period, play resumes on a sudden death basis. The first team to score is the one that wins.


There are no jump balls in half court basketball. Possession at the start of the game is determined by a coin toss. After that, possession alternates except in the case of a foul. After possession changes hands the possessing team has five seconds to put the ball into play.


Fouls count against a running team total. Up to the seventh foul, common fouls result in a change of possession. Shooting fouls result in an awarded basket plus a single free throw (in the case of a successful shot) or two free throws (in the case of an unsuccessful shot). The offended team retains possession of the ball. After the seventh foul, common fouls result in loss of possession and single free throw. Shooting fouls remain the same.

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