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Southborough Youth Basketball Association – Town Program

Game Rules for Grades 4-6 (rev: 11/12/14)


The game rules are defined below.  If a rule is not specified below, Massachusetts (MIAA) High School rules apply.


Ball Size:         28.5 in.                                                                                                   Rim Height:      10’  

Game Format:      5v5 with Man-to-man Defense

The game format will be a “man to man” game format, along with the typical defensive restrictions used with younger players as follows:

-Double teaming, trapping, and zone defenses are NOT allowed

-Each defender must be guarding a player (not a location) and must at all times be showing they are “reasonably trying to guard/follow their opponent”

-If an offensive player with the ball gets by their defender, another defender may come off of their opponent  to  play  “help  defense”.  The  “help  defender”  may  not  leave  the  person  they  are guarding until it is clear  their  teammate  has  been  “beaten  off  the  dribble” (i.e., help defense is not allowed in case a defender is beaten, it is only allowed only when a defender is beaten).  

-Note: the offensive team is not allowed to create an “isolation” situation in an attempt to manipulate these rules (ex: have 4 offensive players move to one side of the court so the player with the ball can drive by their opponent)

- Except for the last 2 minutes of each half, after a change of possession at the offensive end of the court (made shot, defensive rebound, turnover), the team without the ball (now the defensive team) retreats back on defense and can not "pressure the ball" as it comes up the floor

- During the last 2 minutes of each half, the defensive team may play defense anywhere on the court.  This is NOT considered a zone press, it simply means that the defenders can guard their opponent anywhere on the court.  Double teaming, trapping, and zone defenses are still not allowed.

-On the first violation of any of these rules, the referee will issue a warning to the coach of the offending team.  On the 2nd violation, the opposing team will shoot 1 free throw and then get the ball.

Game Timing:  Manage it so the teams have shaken hands and are off the court by the top of the hour

Coaches should make sure players are at the gym 10 minutes before the top of the hour so they are ready to warmup as soon as the previous game is done.  The teams ahead of you on the schedule should be off the court before the top of the hour, and coaches should make sure their games have started no more than 5 minutes into the hour.   Have a volunteer run the scoreboard/timer.

There will be four 7 minute quarters, using “stop time” (clock is stopped on the referees whistle).  The clock should be stopped by the scorekeeper or referee halfway through each quarter to allow for substitutions, so there are a total of 8 “shifts” per game.   Unless a player is hurt, no substitutions should be done until the end of a shift (middle or end of the quarter).  

Overtime:  If there is time to have a single 2 minute overtime and still have the players off the floor by the top of the hour, 1 overtime period is allowed.  You will need to start the overtime at least 5 minutes before the top of the hour to accomplish this.  Team foul counts from the 2nd half will carry over into the overtime.  If you don’t have enough time for an overtime period, the game simply ends in a tie.  

Timeouts: each team will be granted 2 short “30 second” timeouts per game (regardless of overtime).  Please be prudent in the use of these, as the teams need to be off the court before the top of the hour. 



Have a second volunteer at the scorer’s table keeping the game book.  This is primarily done to count player/team fouls and reconcile the overall score with the person running the scoreboard/timer, but the scorekeeper can also keep other stats.

Foul Shooting:


Normal High School rules apply for fouls:

-Players will “foul out” of the game on their 5th foul

-Bonus: starting on the team’s 7th foul in the half, the opposing team will shoot “1 and 1” (if not a shooting foul)

-Double Bonus: starting on the team’s 10th foul in the half,  the opposing team will get 2 free throws

4th and 5th Graders are allowed to shoot from a spot 3 ft inside the free throw line (12 ft from backboard) OR are allowed to shoot from the regulation distance and go over the line on their follow-through.  If a player elects either of these options, they may not be the first to touch or possess the ball on a rebound.

Note: Players lined up on the edge of the Key may enter the key on the release of the shot, while the shooter and any other defenders behind the shooter may not move forward until the shot hits the rim.