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Basketball Rules

2023-24 Basketball Rules

NEW 2023-24 Grade Divisions (June 1, 2023 for Player Exemptions)

  • 1st Grade - 6-year-olds, as of June 1

  • 2nd Grade - 7-year-ods, as of June 1

  • 3rd Grade - 8-year-olds, as of June 1

  • 4th Grade - 9-year-olds, as of June 1,

  • 5th Grade - 10-year-olds, as of June 1 

  • 6th Grade - 11-year-olds, as of June 1 

  • 7th & 8th Grade - ages 12 & 13, as of June 1

  • 9th & 10th Grade - ages 14 &15,  as of June 1

  • 11th & 12th Grade -  ages 16 & 17, as of June 1

U14-U18 Age Divisions

  • Division 1 - teams and older players (a majority of 8th Grade players)

  • Division 2 - teams with younger players (a majority of 7th Grade players)

Goal Heights 

  • 8.5 Feet - 1st through 4th Grade Divisions      

  • 10 Feet - 5th-12th Grade Divisions    


Ball Size 

  • 27.5" - 1st & 2nd Grade Boys and Girls 

  • 28.5” - 3rd - 6th Grade Boys & 3rd - 12th Grade Girls

  • 29.5” - 7th -12th Grade Boys 

Length of Games 

  • 1st - 6th Grade Divisions - Two (2) 18-minute halves

  • 7th - 12th Grade Divisions - Two (2) 20-minute halves

  • TIMEOUTS - (2) 45-second timeouts per half, DO NOT carry over to 2nd half

  • CLOCK: Running Clock (Last Minute of 2nd-Half, except when point rules are applied 

The Game

  • 5 v 5, NO OVERTIME 

  • Teams shoot on goals OPPOSITE of their bench for 1st Half.

  • Halftime is 4-minutes max 

  • Halftime – teams switch goals

  • Halftime - 1st & 2nd Grade games - players will shoot 1 Free-throw, EQUAL # OF SHOTS PER TEAM

  • 3-Point Goals (5th Grade through 12th Grade Divisions ONLY)

  • 1st through 3rd Grade Point Rule - teams with a 15-point lead are restricted to the 15' Lane

  • 3rd Grade through 6th Grade Point Rule – teams with a 15-point lead are restricted in the 3-Point Arc

  • 7th Grade through 12th Grade Point Rule – teams with a 20-point lead are limited in the 3-Point Arc

  • 5-Second Lane Violation - 1st & 4th Grade Divisions

  • 3-Second Lane Violation – 5th through 12th Grade Divisions

  • JERSEY: The HOME team jersey is Light, and the GUESTS team is Dark​​


The Start of Play

  • A Jump Ball determines 1st possession at center court

  • Alternate possessions at the start of the second half from Possession Arrow

  • Teams will switch goals after halftime

  • Must have four players to start the game

  • If one team does not have (5) players, after the scheduled game time, and a
    5-Minute Grace Period, the game will be declared a FORFEIT

  • If the game is announced a FOREFIT, teams will play a scrimmage

  • Forfeit Scrimmages (two 15-minute halves) will use assigned officials and end 15 minutes before the start of the next game


The Head Coach

  • The Head Coach MUST meet with officials and submit Scoresheets at the pre-game meeting and is responsible for all behavior issues related to players and fans

  • A maximum of two (2) coaches in the bench area—however, only one (1) standing coach at a time. 

  • After one (1) warning, a technical foul may be given

  • Bench Technical – by either a player or an assistant coach will result in the loss of Coaching Box privileges for the Head Coach

  • No Coaches are allowed under the backboard area when the ball is in play

  • Coaches are responsible for seeing that their bench area is cleaned after each game


  • The suggested maximum number on each roster is 10

  • Every player (if physically able) should play at least 50% of the game

  • ESCRA recommends reversible Jerseys (with both light/dark colors)

  • WHITE T-SHIRTS are the preferred color for undergarments

  • Legal Numbers MUST be on the front and back. 

  • Uniforms must match and have numbers 1-5, 11-15, or 21-25

  • The following numbers (6, 7, 8, or 9) are NOT to be used in any combination.


General Safety

  • Necklaces, watches, jewelry, earrings, and any pierced body parts on either boys or girls are PROHIBITED. 

  • 1st through 4th Grade players with stud earrings may wear tape to cover and play

  • Players wearing beads must wear a head cover to prevent injury to other players


The Score

  • The score will be kept at each game, including fouls and technical fouls

  • HOWEVER, no league standings will be kept 

  • ESCRA is a Developmental League focusing on fun, fellowship, and instruction

Fouls and Technicals

  • 7 Common Team Fouls = Double Bonus (2 Free Throws)

  • Offensive and Defensive fouls may be called on any player. 

  • The referee should briefly explain all infractions.

  • Technical Fouls may be called on any player, coach, or fan.

  • Player Disqualification - Five (5) fouls and removal from the game.  Players remain as bench personnel, not permitted to leave

  • Coach Ejection - Two (2) technical fouls and removal from the facility within 1-minute after ejection or the game will be canceled

  • Direct Technicals for unsportsmanlike actions:  3 free throws and possession

  • Indirect Technicals for rules infractions: 2 free throws and possession

  • (2) Direct Technicals = (2) Game Suspension

  • (4) Total Direct Technicals = Suspension from ESCRA Basketball



  • To enter the game, players check in at the Scorer’s Table and kneel at the X.

  • When the whistle is blown for a dead ball, subs will be waived by the official.

  • The scorekeeper will notify the officials of substitutes with a short horn when the ball is not in play.

  • If a player is injured and needs to come out of the game, an official may call a time-out to stop the clock.  Play will resume at the point of interruption on all inbound plays or rebounds after notification is made by the official to restart the clock.


Pressing and Defense

  • Zone Defense is allowed

  • 1st & 2nd Grade Defense – players, can ONLY play the ball when it crosses 3-Point Arc

  • 1st & 2nd Grade - NO fast breaks

  • 3rd - 6th Grade Defense – players, can ONLY play the ball when it crosses Half-court

  • 7th - 12th Grade Defense – teams, can full-court press, and double teams are allowed

  • After the 15-point and 20-point Rules, Defense outside of the 3-point Arc is an Illegal Defense.



  • ESCRA will assign two (2) officials to enforce the rules of the game with
    Instruction, fun, fairness, and safety are in mind.

  • The officials have complete administration of the game. 

  • One (1) warning will be given to the Head Coach in the event of fan issues.

  • In the event of an unruly fan, the result is an Indirect Technical on their Head Coach

  • Please inform the Site Director and YOUR Athletic Director of any issues.


Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide and promote recreation between churches in the Shelby County area in a Christ-honoring environment.


Our Purpose

  • Provide athletic competition for all ages.

  • Promote an environment that will assure a spirit of fair play and sportsmanship.

  • Promote participation in team sports.

  • Encourage fellowship that honors Jesus Christ.


Age/Grade Exemptions

  • In exceptional circumstances, an exemption may be granted for a player to play in a lower-grade division.

  • Please submit the online Exemption Request at

  • The team’s Recreation Director must request before Nov. 15.

  • Churches will be notified concerning the status of the exemption, approved/denied

  • Approvals can be revoked if the exemption information is found to be false.


Playing on More Than One Team

Players are not allowed to play on more than one team within the same sports season  Anyone playing for their school, playing on a competitive team, or playing in another league/association within the same sports season may not play in the ESCRA league


Score Sheets

Score sheets (Excel format) are available online at for coaches to complete before their games.  Please include your Church, Age Division, and Player’s first and last names and turn them in to the Scorekeeper before tip-off.


Inclement Weather Number

For dangerous driving conditions due to Winter Weather, coaches should call (901) 679-6041 to check if any gyms are closed and games canceled.  Please get in touch with this line each Saturday after 8:00 a.m. and weeknights by 3:00 p.m. for updates.


Canceling a Game

  • ESCRA will not cover the COST OF OFFICIALS.

  • Play all games as scheduled.

  • For any games canceled, the ESCRA will NOT reschedule games.

  • PROTOCOL: The Head Coach informs their Director, who reports the League


The Bench (Assistant Coaches)

  • Only ONE (1) coach can stand and direct play during a game.

  • The coaches’ Box is the area from the bench to the sidelines with seven chairs in length.  Substitute players must remain seated.

  • Teams must have Adult Coaches (25 years old).  Exemptions Request may be submitted

  • A coach receiving (2) Direct Technicals in a game will be ejected from the facility.

  • The ESCRA Board of Directors will review a coach receiving (3) Direct Technicals in a season to determine eligibility for coaching in future ESCRA games.


Clock Operators / Scorekeepers

The League pays for clock operators and scorekeepers.  Location Managers may contact two people for each game.  Scorekeepers must ensure that the coaches submit a Score Sheet including the Church name, Division, player numbers, and first and last names.



  • Games begin with PRAYER

  • Coaches must, in good faith, keep up with the 50% play rule or face disciplinary actions.

  • Modified TSSAA Rules apply to all games, with NO overtime.



  • Free Throws: after 7 team fouls, players will shoot two shots.

(Revised: 10/3/2023)

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