How Long are High School Basketball Games? [With Facts and Figures]

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Do you want to know how long are high school basketball games season lasts? If you are a student-athlete or the parent of a student-athlete, you need to know the answer to this question. There are many things that everyone needs to do to get ready for the high school basketball season.

It is important to know how long the season is and when it starts and ends so that you can plan accordingly. A standard high school basketball game has four 8-minute periods, a 10- to 15-minute break at halftime, and a 1-minute break between the first and second, third, and fourth periods.

But the length of a basketball game depends on how many fouls, timeouts, and overtime periods there are. We know all of this, and we want you to have all of the information you need to get your family ready for the next season. 

How Many Minutes Total in a Basketball Game?

From league to league, the total number of minutes played in a basketball game is different. High school, college, and the NBA all have different rules. We’ll look at the minutes for the NBA, the WNBA, the NCAA, and high school basketball.

NBA games are the longest of any basketball league, lasting 48 minutes. NCAA games for both men and women last 40 minutes. The length of a WNBA game is also 40 minutes. All games that the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) approves are 40 minutes long. This includes the Olympic basketball games. Most high school basketball games last 32 minutes, but that can vary based on the rules of the league.

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How Long is a Junior High Basketball Game?

A game of basketball for kids in middle school lasts about an hour and a half. In most states, each quarter of a junior high basketball game lasts 6 minutes, but in some states, each quarter lasts 8 minutes.

These games also have a 10-minute break in the middle. If the score is tied at the end of regulation, a 5-minute overtime period is played. There is no shot clock at junior high basketball games.

Some states also have a mercy rule that is the same as the mercy rule for high schools in that state. As we talked about in the high school section, once a team gets ahead by a certain number of points, the game clock may become a running clock and only stop between quarters or timeouts, depending on the state rules.

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How Long is a High School Basketball Game?

Surprisingly, high school basketball games are not that different from games for younger kids. They have four quarters that are each 8 minutes long. The whole game takes about 1.5 hours. (Games for junior varsity are usually a little different. There are still four quarters, but each one is only six minutes long instead of eight. This cuts about twenty minutes off the length of a game.)

There are 5 timeouts for high school coaches: 3 full timeouts and 2 30-second timeouts. The length of the game depends on how close it is, how many fouls were called, and how many timeouts were used. Most high schools also use the “mercy rule,” which means that if one team gets a big lead, the game clock keeps going even though the game is over.

Some states keep the mercy rule at around 30 points, while others keep it at a higher number. If the mercy rule is used and the clock starts running, the game will end much faster than if the clock stopped a lot during the game.

How Long Is a High School Basketball Game on Live TV?

High school basketball games will be shown on TV for even longer. If you want to watch your favourite high school basketball team on TV, be ready to spend more than two hours. Most of the time, TV hosts do pre-game and post-game reviews with the players, basketball experts, and so on. Most of the time, these reviews add to the length of the game itself.

TV Timeouts

Since we’re talking about TV coverage, you need to add TV timeouts. When an NCAA game is shown on TV, there are two TV timeouts. Each timeout on a TV can take up to a few minutes. If you give each TV timeout two minutes, that adds eight minutes to the game, bringing the total time to 56 minutes.

Pre-Game Show

Most of the time, the pre-game show starts 30 minutes before the game. Most of the time, the host will talk to a basketball analyst to find out what might happen in the next game.

Post-Game Show

The show after the game is usually shorter and lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. The hosts will often talk to the game’s most valuable player (MVP) and the best player on the losing team. The analyst may also try to break down what happened in the game that just ended and what it means for the following games of both teams.

Playoff Games

Even though regular season games are long, playoff games are even longer. High school baseball playoff games are usually 15-20 minutes longer than regular games.

The reason is that there are more free throws, reviews during and after the game, substitutions, timeouts, etc., in the playoffs. So, if you want to watch a high school basketball game on TV, get ready to spend at least two hours and maybe even three or more.

TV Commercials and Interviews

When we talk about TV coverage, there is also extra time for TV commercials, as well as mandatory interviews before and after the game. So, it’s not unusual for an NCAA game to last two hours or more when you watch it on TV.

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High School Basketball Rules

The rules for high school basketball are the same as those for college basketball. High school players just need to meet a few requirements to be eligible. High schools usually only let people between the ages of 14 and 19 on their teams because it’s fairer for everyone. It also makes sure that some taller or stronger athletes don’t have an unfair advantage over smaller high school athletes.

A Game of Four Quarters

No matter what level you play at (kindergarten, middle school, or high school), games usually consist of four eight-minute quarters followed by halves with a running clock when your team is ahead by 20 points or more. So, there won’t be too many times when nothing can happen, which fans hate. If a high school team is losing, though, they can play with a “stall” clock, which means the game keeps going even when neither team has the ball.

Game Length

High school teams can play a game with four eight-minute quarters as one game. Men’s college basketball has two halves that are each twenty minutes long. Women’s college basketball has four halves that are each ten minutes long. In the NBA, there are four 12-minute halves.

No Gifts!

Also, high school basketball players can’t get paid or receive any kind of gift. Since high schools get money from donations and taxes, this is a great rule to follow so that no high school athlete has an unfair advantage over other students on the team.

One Sport, One Team

High schools don’t let athletes play on more than one team in the same sport because their bodies are still growing. So they’ll have plenty of time to rest and let their muscles heal. It also keeps players from getting hurt, which is important because high schools want every player to be in good health when they play games.

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Who Determines the Length of a High School Basketball Game?

The National Federation of State High School Associations is an organization that sets the rules for high school basketball games. The length of a high school basketball game is set by this group. The National Federation of State High School Associations makes the rules for basketball games for girls and boys in all 50 states and Washington, DC. About 1800 schools that follow their rules are members. This group makes sure that all high school sports competitions in the United States are the same.

What Season is Basketball Played In?

Basketball is often thought of as a winter sport, but if your team does well in competitions, the season can last well past winter. The season starts in the winter, around November, and goes on until March or April in some states.

Even though basketball is usually thought of as a winter sport, there are leagues that students can join outside of school that start before winter. These leagues are a good way to improve a player’s skills so that by the time they get to high school, they are better than their opponents.

Some leagues go on after the official High School tournament is over. These leagues are also good for students to join as long as they have enough time to rest after the High School tournament. Parents should pay close attention to when these leagues are happening and keep an eye on their kids’ participation, so they don’t overwork their bodies by competing in too many games.

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How Many Games Are in a High School Basketball Season?

A high school basketball season usually has anywhere from 20 to 35 games. Compared to college or pro athletes, there aren’t as many. But it’s still enough for students all over America to compete on hardwood floors.

Without playoffs or state championship games, a high school basketball season isn’t complete. High school sports are fun to follow and watch because anything can happen on the court at any time, even in high-pressure situations.

What Factors Affect the Length of Basketball Games?

Several things can cause the clock to stop during a basketball game, such as:

Fouls, Injuries, and Free Throws

The game clock stops when there are fouls, injuries, balls that go out of bounds, and free throws. The game clock stops until a throw-in or jump ball puts the ball back in play. Find out how fouls are called in basketball.

Halftime Break

To answer the question, “How long does a college basketball game last?” we have to take into account the halftime break. The halftime clock in college basketball is set to 15 to 20 minutes. When you add this time to the previous one hour and 11 minutes, you get a total of one hour and 31 minutes.


If an NBA or WNBA team uses all of its time-outs in one game, it can add up to nine minutes to the length of the game. But each team can only take one full time-out per quarter, and they can’t use more than three time-outs in the fourth quarter. If there are two or more time-outs left in the fourth quarter, the 75-second time-out is cut to 20 seconds. Time-outs don’t add much time to high school and college games.


The length of a basketball game can also be changed over time (OT). There is no limit on how many overtime periods a team can play in an NBA game. In the NBA, WNBA, and FIBA, each overtime period is five minutes long, and each team gets a few extra time-outs for every overtime period played. College basketball games for both men and women can have as many overtime periods as they want.

Shot Clock

The shot clock is a timer that tells a basketball team how long it can have the ball before taking a shot. If the shot clock runs out before a team tries to make a field goal, they lose the ball. In 1954, the NBA started using a 24-second shot clock, while the FIBA, the WNBA, and college basketball all used 30-second clocks. But in 2000 and 2006, FIBA and the WNBA switched to the twenty-four-second clock.

Challenges and Reviews

Only the NBA and a few other professional leagues use the rules for challenges and reviews. In order to make the right call, it can take officials up to 30 minutes to figure out who touched the ball last in some games. This makes the game last longer than it needs to, and there are often times when it’s just plain silly. Challenges are the same thing as timeouts, but they are more fun and last about two minutes.

How Does High School Basketball Season Work?

Teams usually play in district tournaments to move on to regional tournaments and then state tournaments during the high school basketball season. During a season, most teams practice four to five times a week for about two hours each time. Different drills are used to improve coordination, offence, defence, footwork, and other skills.

Most teams have film sessions before practice once or twice a week. These sessions can last up to 20 minutes, but sometimes they last longer. Some coaches will also have the team do strength-training exercises once or twice a week. Depending on their states and where they are in the tournament, teams usually play two games each week.

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Uniform Rules for High School Basketball?

The players get standard shorts and a jersey with their team’s colours that they have to wear during all competitive games.

  • Home jerseys have to be white, and away jerseys have to be a dark colour that stands out from white.
  • The torso of the jersey must be one solid colour, not a pattern.
  • Both the front and back of the jersey must be able to see the number, and the colour must be the same. The front should be at least 4 inches high, and the back should be at least 6 inches high.
  • The numbers on a jersey can be between 00 and 15, 20 and 25, 30 and 35, 40 and 45, and 50 and 55.
  • The American flag on each jersey can be no bigger than 2 inches by 3 inches and can’t cover the player’s number.
  • The sleeves on all undershirts must be the same length.
  • If you need to wear a hat for medical or religious reasons, you may be able to do so as long as you have proof and show it to the officials at each game.
  • Players can’t take off their jerseys or pants where other players can see them.

How Many Timeouts Are In a Basketball Game?

The NBA game clock stops a lot, so the league has tried to speed up games by limiting how many timeouts teams can use. As of the 2017-18 season, NBA teams are allowed to take seven timeouts per game. Each team only gets two timeouts in the last three minutes. This is different from the last two minutes when each team could use three timeouts.

In these professional games, each timeout lasts 75 seconds. The NBA used to let teams take timeouts for 100 seconds and “20-second” timeouts that were more like 60 seconds.

The NCAA lets each game have three 30-second timeouts, and two of them can be carried over to the second half. Each team also has one 60-second timeout that can be used at any point during the game. Rules for high school games are like those for college games.

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High School Sports Championships and Playoffs

The way high school sports championships and playoffs are set up can be different from one state to the next and even within a state. Most of the time, the high school sports teams that have the best series of scores will move on to the postseason. The same is true for golfers and swimmers who compete against each other. Most of the time, there will be district or regional championships, or both, and then a state tournament or state championship. When a sports event is over, the teams rarely play again.

People who want to be at the top of the national high school sports rankings often haven’t played the teams they’re competing with for the top spots. For example, five of the top 10 schools in softball, according to the USA Today Super 25 rankings, did not lose any games in 2019. This means that they never played against each other. So, their high school sports scores and how hard their schedules were are taken into account.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How Long are High School Basketball Games?

How long does a basketball game usually last?

After team timeouts, replay reviews, TV timeouts, shooting fouls, halftime breaks, breathers, and other stops, the average NBA basketball game lasts between two and three hours. Most games last between two and a half and three hours.

How long is halftime in a high school basketball game?

Depending on the rules of the league, the halftime of a high school basketball game can last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. Most basketball games don’t have halftimes that last longer than 14 to 15 minutes unless there is a performance that needs to be set up and taken down. Halftime can feel like a long time, but all you can do is watch the game.

What months is the basketball season?

The National Basketball Association (NBA) season for men in the United States runs from October to April, and the playoffs go on until June. It’s not uncommon to play three to four games per week, and you might even play on back-to-back days.

How long do high school freshman basketball games last?

How long does a basketball game at a high school last? Varsity basketball games at a high school last about an hour and 45 minutes to two hours. Junior varsity basketball games in high school last about an hour and a half.

Is basketball a winter sport in high school?

For example, football is one of the sports that high schools play in the fall, basketball is one of the sports that high schools play in the winter, and baseball is one of the sports that high schools play in the spring.

How many miles do you run in a high school basketball game?

A basketball player runs about 2.55 miles during a game, on average. With five players on the court at once, that’s 12.75 miles for each team over the course of 48 minutes of regulation play.

How many hours do they play basketball?

A basketball game usually lasts about 2 hours. You should give yourself at least two hours to get to the game and watch it. But keep in mind that games with more at stake, like the Finals, will be longer because there is a greater chance that they will go into overtime.

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How long is a typical high school basketball game?

High school: According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHSA), a high school basketball game lasts 32 minutes, and a youth basketball game lasts 32 minutes. Each game is divided into four 8-minute quarters.

How to Become a Good High School Player?

No matter how big the court you play on is, if you are a good high school player and a future prospect, it won’t matter. Every kid who really cares about his sport works hard at it, but it’s often a waste of time unless a coach or someone who has been there giving them some tips.

Is high school basketball quarters or halves?

High School: There are four 8-minute quarters or two 16-minute halves in a high school basketball game. College – Two 20-minute halves make up an NCAA college basketball game. This is the same for WNBA games and games around the world. NBA – Each NBA game is split into four parts that last 12 minutes each.

Do they play 4 quarters in high school basketball?

A 32-minute base session is the main part of a high school basketball game. It is made up of four 8-minute parts called quarters. This term is the same for both boys and girls in high school.


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