Basketball Scorekeeper Rules

Updated July 19, 2017

A basketball scorekeeper holds an important position, and for more than just tallying points. Depending on level of play, basketball scorekeepers might keep track of team and individual fouls, rebounds, assists and field goal and free-throw percentage. But regardless of responsibilities, basketball scorekeepers must be attentive during the entire course of a game.

Booking It

The first priority in keeping score, whether it be at the middle school or professional level, is to possess a basketball scorebook. Most are supplied by teams, but they can also be found at sporting goods stores or via a simple Internet search. Basketball scorebooks consist of pages that allow scorekeepers to list the names and numbers of every player on both teams, as well as the total amount of points scored by each player and team in each quarter.

Keeping Score

The rules for basketball scorekeepers when it comes to totalling points are simple. The majority of baskets are worth two points, and free throws are worth one apiece. Any made basket outside the 3-point arc is, of course, worth three. Scorekeepers typically record these baskets by writing a numeral next to a player’s name indicating what type of basket the player has scored. At the end of each quarter, scorekeepers total the number of individual points to make sure they match those on the electronic scoreboard.

Marking Free Throws

Most basketball scorekeepers track free throws by drawing a small circle next to a player’s name each time a free throw is attempted. When the free throw is made, the scorekeeper colours in the circle. At the end of each game, scorekeepers tally the total number of free throws made and attempted.

Charting Fouls

Basketball scorekeepers are also solely responsible for keeping track of all-important player and team fouls. When a player is whistled for a foul, the referee will look to the scorekeeper and give the number of the player and the player’s team, enabling the scorekeeper to record the infraction in the scorebook. Scorekeepers must then let officials know when a player has fouled out (five fouls result in disqualification at the amateur level, six at the professional), as well as whether a team is over the limit or has committed so many fouls that their opponent gets to shoot free throws.

Other Stats

While primary scorekeepers typically focuses on how many points are scored, they are often assisted by those who keep track of rebounds, assists, steals, turnovers and even where shots were taken from and missed. At the end of each game, scorekeepers put all of this information together and form what is called a “box score,” or a statistical summary of the game.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Sam Amico is a reporter for and worked as a writer and editor at daily newspapers for more than a decade, covering everything from rock concerts to college football to courts and crime. He attended Kent State University and is the author of the book, "A Basketball Summer." He also is the co-host of a nationally-syndicated television show, "The Wine & Gold Zone."