Who’s Your Shooter

How to fix situations when the wrong shooter goes to the line.

Photo courtesy of Garry Thompson.

If your high school officiating crew is focused in on the game at hand, a “wrong shooter” scenario will be quickly snuffed out before the fuse is lit and the suspect player is given the ball.

The calling official will have their shooter mentally locked in as they proceed from the reporting area to the foul line, and their partner will provide a safety net by pointing to the fouled player and temporarily committing the player’s number to memory.

If the foul results in a trip to the other end of the court to shoot, a verbal notice by one of the non-calling officials in earshot of the players (“21, you’re shooting.”) will nip any subterfuge in the bud.  And establishing a proper up tempo pace between the time of the foul and actually administering the free throws will go a long way to thwart any seeds of deceit being planted in your game.

However, if prevention escapes you and you are faced with this correctable error scenario, your only salvation is to extricate yourself the right way.

If the crew believes there is a reasonable explanation for the mix up, fix it and move on…

But if you feel there is no justification for this mix up (i.e. post player fouled; point guard steps to the line), you would be well within in the rules to administer a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. Now a stern or wary glance at the offending player and in the direction of the offending coach may be the better course of action instead of a technical, but that penalty option is certainly at your disposal.

Now if a player (A-1) is injured or disqualified before they can attempt their free throws:

  •  A-1’s replacement (A-6) will shoot ALL of A-1’s free throws.
  • Team A’s coach MAY NOT substitute a player (A-7) to shoot the remaining free throws due to A-1 being fouled.
  • A substitute thrower is permitted only if A-6 claimed to be injured after the first free throw, which is highly unlikely.

Free throws awarded for a technical foul (NFHS) may be shot by different players. Free throws awarded to a fouled player who is replaced because of injury must be shot by the substitute.

If a technical foul is called prior to the start of the game (on Team B) and the game will begin with Team A shooting free throws:

  • Team A’s coach MAY REPLACE a starter (A-5) with a bench player (A-6) to shoot the free throws.
  • A-5 MAY NOT re-enter the game until after the clock has been properly started.

Prevention and discretion will serve you well should this wrong shooter subplot develop in your game; the key is to be armed with the knowledge to properly rule on it, if and when it occurs.

NFHS Rule References
2-10; 3-2; 3-3-4; 8-3; 10-3-6  

About Tim Malloy

Tim is the co-founder of "60 Seconds on Officiating" and has over 40 years of basketball referee experience with IAABO Camden New Jersey Board 34. Tim lives in West Deptford, NJ . More Posts

2 Comments on Who’s Your Shooter

  1. I don’t think A-5 is removed as a starter unless the coach decides so, as in the last scenario above. Also, may two different players shoot the two technical free throws in any technical free throw situation?

  2. If a wrong shooter goes to the line and makes the first FT,
    After the make, the official declared that she is the wrong shooter, can you take the point away for the officials wrongfully appointing the 1st shooter.

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