Zone BLOBs to Counter 2-3 Zone Defense

I spoke with Alan Hibino recently via teleconference. Alan is the girls head coach at Andover High School. The same Andover High School that won the Division I state championship a few weeks ago. The first item we discussed was zone BLOBs and some ideas to help players remember them. BLOBs are everywhere on basketball websites or clinic notes. There is almost an overwhelming number. I liked our discussion because it put a narrower focus on what works at the high school girls level.

I showed Coach Hibino a set that my team frequently runs which we call “Sting.”


The basic idea is that we want x3 to have to make a choice. If x3 does not go to the corner, 2 in this instance will be left open for a three-pointer. If x3 does go to the corner, 4 has sealed off the middle defender so 5 can just dive to the lane and get a lob pass for a pretty good look.

Getting x3 to Make a Choice in Zone BLOBs

Coach Hibino runs a couple variations of this concept that he showed me. Here is one in which the player diving to the rim acts as if they will set a screen for the player on the opposite elbow to disguise the dive.



Next, here is a zone BLOBs set I am calling “Slide”. Again, x3 is forced to make a choice, but three offensive players are spread across the baseline instead of along the lane line. The concept is the same, but it is a good change up for the defense. In this play, one player is setting both screens to free up the shooter and the forward at the rim.

Coach Hibino scouted a team that was aggressive in getting out to the corners on shooters this season. To counter this, he had has two shooters go from the block to the corners. It left just x5 to cover the paint, so both players on the elbows used a scissor action (minus the middle screen) to the blocks.


How Do Players Learn Plays?

I asked Coach Hibino how many BLOB plays they ran since getting players to execute can be problematic. He claimed it was three sets versus man and three versus zone. More importantly, he told his players going into every game exactly which three plays they could expect.

If Andover were at home, the team would walk through the plays as part of the scouting report because they have a facility which allows for this. If they were on the road, before they got on the bus they went over the entire scouting report. As part of this scouting report, the team reviewed the baseline out of bounds plays that they were running that night.

In addition to going over it before the bus left, they would work on these plays at practice. Coach Hibino said he usually allocates five minutes in the middle of practice for BLOBs. At times it varies based on the needs of that day. Much of the time they did not run them at full speed, and he tried to teach from a perspective that they were trying to defend on BLOBs first.

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