The shot clock is finally coming to Long Island high school lacrosse.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) decided on Jan. 31 to allow any section in the state to seek permission from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to adopt a shot clock on an experimental basis. Section VIII, the governing body for high school sports in Nassau County, and Section XI, the governing body of scholastic sports in Suffolk County, were granted that permission and will use a shot clock on a two-year experimental basis for varsity boys and girls lacrosse games starting in the spring of 2025.
The CHSAA has had conversations over the past year about implementing a shot clock on an experimental basis and hopes to have it in place for both boys and girls lacrosse for the spring of 2025 as well, said Morgan O'Connor, the Sacred Heart athletic director and girls lacrosse chairperson.
Jim Amen Jr., the state chairperson for boys lacrosse, said that every section coordinator in New York State approved the shot clock for boys lacrosse.
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Nassau and Suffolk public high schools will have a shot clock for varsity boys and girls lacrosse beginning in the spring of 2025. The CHSAA said it hopes to have one in place at that time as well.
The decision comes after the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) decided on Jan. 31 to allow any section in the state to seek permission from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to adopt a shot clock on an experimental basis.
Coaches favor the move, mainly because it will help high school players better prepare for the college game, which already uses a shot clock.
“We feel it would be a viable and actually a very positive step for lacrosse,” said Tom Combs, the executive director of Section XI. “This will also move it similar to the college ranks.”
Both NCAA men’s (80 seconds) and women’s lacrosse (90 seconds) feature a shot clock.
The boys lacrosse proposal to the NYSPHSAA and NFHS features a 60-second shot clock starting when the ball reaches the offensive goal box area. The offensive team will have 10 seconds from the time it crosses midfield to reach the offensive goal box area. The 10-second timer will be kept by the officials, whereas the 60-second shot clock will be on the physical shot clock.
The girls proposal didn’t include specific times. The details are being finalized and will be shared at the NYSPHSAA executive committee meeting in May.
Combs said that nearly everyone involved in Suffolk lacrosse favored the shot clock. He said the county plans to send its results of the two-year pilot experiment to NFHS and hopes the association will mandate the shot clock.
Both Combs and Justin Jonas, the assistant executive director of Section VIII, said the recommendation is for all schools is to purchase two shot clocks and place one at each end of the field. If a school only has one shot clock, the recommendation is to place it at midfield by the scorer’s table and if the school is without a shot clock, the referee will keep the time on the field. Combs said two shot clocks would cost between $4,000 and $7,000 depending on the type of clocks the school purchases and that the money would come from the school’s budgets.
Long Island coaches are in favor of the shot clock.
“We produce a lot of college-ready kids that are ready to go their freshmen year as soon as they step on campus and we just felt like they were behind the eight ball having not played with the shot clock," Floyd boys lacrosse coach Desmond Megna said.
Cold Spring Harbor girls lacrosse coach Danielle Castellane said it's time for the shot clock on the high school level.
“It not only prepares the girls for what’s to come, it makes it more exciting,” Castellane said. “The game is evolving and we need to evolve with it. These girls deserve to show that they are big, fast and strong and I think this is what’s best for the game across the board."
Stalling or holding the ball without making any attempt to score a goal for minutes at a time has been a hot-button topic in the Long Island lacrosse community. It’s especially evident on the girls side, which doesn’t allow body checking.
“I just think it’s what’s best for the game,” Castellane said.
Ryan Gick, the Bayport-Blue Point girls lacrosse coach, is excited to see the creativity a shot clock provides, rather than players following a coach's instructions to drain the clock late in games.
“I think it will make players better [and] more intelligent because they will need to make choices in game situations because the clock is running down,” Gick said. “ ... I don’t think kids want to have people strangling their creativity and I think the shot clock will allow players to play more.”
Gick also said he believes a shot clock will make the game safer. Players are often forced to be more aggressive and push the boundary of what is and isn’t a penalty to try and cause a turnover in the final minutes of games, which leads to dangerous plays.
“I think the safety element was the focus of this when it was first moving forward," Gick said.
Garden City boys lacrosse coach Steve Finnell is in favor of a shot clock and said coaches will adjust to the new rules.
“Whatever the rules are, we’re going to play by it,” Finnell said. “We play fast when we can and we slow it down when we should. However you want to look at it, I think this will be welcomed on both sides.”