NJB Rules

NJB versus the basketball you see on TV

For those that are new to NJB basketball, there are a few rules that make it a bit different from what you see on TV. The following summarizes some of the key differences with Divisional NJB games which will hopefully make following the game easier. For the hardcore, you can download a full copy of the rules from the Silicon Valley NJB site.

5 Periods (4 Quarters + 1)

Unlike college (2 halves) or the pros (4 quarters) our games consist of five 8 minute periods. The periods are a running clock meaning that the clock ONLY stops for time-outs or shooting fouls. If the score difference between the two teams is nine or less, then regulation time (clock stops on all change of possession) will be implemented for the final two minutes of the game. The five periods exist to allow easy enforcement of the player participation rule (see next) while allowing the games to remain competitive.

Player participation rule

All players that are in attendance MUST play one of the first two periods and one of the second two periods. In other words, if all ten of our players are present everyone will have played two full periods by the fourth period. During these four periods, other than for injury, there will be NO substitutions. The 5th period is at the Coach's discretion & substitutions are allowed. So during this period, it's possible for only 5 players to play the entire period, for all 10 to play with substitutions or any combination in-between. This rule is STRICTLY enforced so if you're planning on leaving after the first half & taking your daughter with you, please let the coach know BEFORE the game. Similarly, arrive 15-30 minutes prior to the start of a game as late players disrupt the Player Participation rules. Lack of conformance may force a team to FORFEIT the game.

Player advantage rule

The Silicon Valley Chapter of NJB (of which Foothill is a member) uese the player advantage rule. If a team has less players than their opponent then points are awarded to the team with more players. The point awards are shown in the Player Advantage Rules found on the Silicon Valley NJB site.

6 Player rule

If a team has only 6 players (and the opposing team has at least 6 players) the opposing coach can select a player to sit in the first period, after which the team's coach can decide who to sit for the remaining 4 periods, provided that it is a DIFFERENT player each period. One player will end up playing the entire game. If any player fouls out during a period, the team will not be allowed to substitute-in and will play with less than 5 players for that period. The team with 6 players also will NOT be allowed free substitution in the 5th period.

5 Player rule

If a team has only 5 players present at the start of either half, their opponent will receive points for each HALF that their opponent only has 5 players.


Division 3 (3rd / 4th grade) additional rules

Transition rule

In the first 4 quarters of a game, when a team gains possession of the ball, the opposing team must retreat below the three point line and can only come defend once the ball has passed the ATTACK line.

Half-court press

Is ONLY allowed in the 5th period.

Full-court press

Is ONLY allowed during the last 4 minutes of the 5th period & overtime.

Free throws

Free throws will be shot from 10' (rather than the standard 15').

Free throws at the beginning of the game

Both teams will shoot an equal number of free throws at the beginning of the game (equal to the larger number of players for either team), with a shot taken by each player. If a team has less players, than the coach will chose a player who has not made a free-throw to shoot the extra shot. If all players have made their shot, than the coach may select any player. ALL MADE FREE THROWS WILL COUNT TOWARD THE FINAL SCORE.

1st pass / back court rule

If a team secures a DEFENSIVE rebound, where the shot hit either the RIM or the BACKBOARD they MUST make a pass before half-court. If the shot does not hit anything (airball) then a pass is NOT required. This rule is not in effect for steals and it is NOT in effect during the last 4 minutes of the game.

5-Second rule

A player on OFFENSE cannot be in the key for more than 5 continuous seconds (resets each time there is a shot). (1st violation= warning, second=turn-over.)



Division 2 (5th & 6th grade)

  • Man-to-Man defense must be played in the first half. Full court pressure is only allowed in the 5th period.
  • Free throws will be shot from 12' (rather than the standard 15')


Division 1 (7th & 8th grade)

  • Man-to-Man defense must be played in the 1st half.