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2-3 zone defense

A great counter when facing a 2-3 zone, have your wings cross and screen the top defenders creating an opening for the ball handler to drive.

Why use this zone play

Robert Morris University ran this play against Youngstown earlier this season. Rather than the typical zone play in which the ball moves around the perimeter and (hopefully) into the post or short corner, screen the top defenders and attack with the dribble.

Set up

  • Start in a basic set with guards on each wing and posts near each block as the point dribbles at the top.

How to play

  • 1 passes the ball to the wing to shift the defense [1].
  • 2 passes back to 1. On the pass back, 3 comes across the set and screens the right-side defender while 2 moves across and picks off the left-side defender at the top [2].
  • Now, 1 has the entire middle of the floor in which to work. 1 has the option to attack the final defender and go hard at the rim, or pull up in the lane for a short jumper [3].

Here’s a simple diagram for setting up this zone play

2-3 zone offense

How to perfect the technique for this zone play

  • 3 gets a wide base so it’s possible to pick off two defenders.
  • When 1 attacks the middle, 5 also has the opportunity to get open as the final defender has to make a choice about who to guard.
  • 5 needs to have hands ready for a potential pass near the hoop.
Michael Austin
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