Sports Scene: Changes coming to free-throw shooting this winter

Prep basketball will be played a bit differently throughout the nation this winter.

The National Federation of State High School Associations announced in May it had changed rules regarding fouls and free throws.

Gone are the first- and second-half foul totals and one-and-one scenarios.

Instead, foul totals will be kept by quarter. Teams will reach the bonus and shoot two free throws when five fouls are committed in a quarter by their opponent.

The NFHS board of directors approved the rule change in late April, and the organization announced it several weeks later. In a press release, the organization said the change should improve game flow and allow teams to adjust play by not carrying foul totals throughout a half.

Div. IV will now be open ‘super sectional’

The days of Dayton-area Division IV basketball teams being divided into two different sectionals are done. Instead, both boys and girls tournaments will be run as one large sectional.

The Southwest District Athletic Board voted to make the change earlier this week; it is already reflected on its website.

While Divisions I and III have long been run this way, Divisions II and IV were historically limited to specific sites.

Division II changed several years ago after years of complaints from southern-Dayton area boys coaches and school administrators who said their sectional was significantly stronger than a sectional played at Springfield High School.

These complaints grew extremely loud when Luke Kennard was at Franklin. Aside from the Wildcats, the southern Dayton sectional was loaded with several strong Dayton Public League, Greater Catholic League Co-Ed and Southwestern Buckeye League schools at that time.

Northern area D-IV boys coaches have long made similar complaints about the Shelby County Athletic League-heavy sectional played at Piqua High School in comparison to the sectional played at Troy.

Now instead of Dayton-area D-IV boys teams being assigned to either the Troy or Piqua sectional (or girls teams being assigned to either the Versailles or Sidney sectional); it will all be run as one, and teams can choose to play at either location.

While it won’t be the same not having such a competitive Piqua sectional, it will give more SCAL teams the chance to make a district final berth. All Div. IV SCAL teams previously were assigned to Piqua and had to fight for one of two district berths; now teams can play for any of the four district berths out of the northern ‘super sectional.’

Playoff games back at Welcome Stadium

The OHSAA and Dayton Public Schools must have completely patched things up.

Aside from the association’s recent announcement the state track and field meet will take place at Welcome Stadium this June, it announced last Sunday a playoff football game was going to be held at the complex. Troy and Withrow faced off in a Division II, Region 8 playoff game at the newly renovated stadium on Friday.

The OHSAA hasn’t hosted any events at the complex since before a 2017 scandal, when a DPS administrator was accused of telling Dunbar’s football team to lose a game to Belmont in order for both teams to qualify for postseason play. The association put DPS schools on probation and fined the district $10,000.

With Welcome Stadium back in the playoff hosting picture, it’s less likely Sidney Memorial Stadium will host state semifinal playoff games. Sidney hosted a D-I state semifinal in 2021 between Springfield and Cincinnati Moeller — a matchup that would have made perfect sense to be in Dayton.