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Junior Division Game Rules

At Heart’s Length

Youth Basketball League

Junior Boys/Girls Division 3rd & 4th Grade

League Rules


The purpose of this league is to give young athletes the opportunity to play and compete against players from all over the City of Elizabeth, while learning the fundamentals of basketball. Developing skills, sportsmanship, teamwork, and discipline are the objectives of this league. The goals will be attained through the concerted efforts of all players, coaches, officials and the members of At Heart’s Length Youth Athletic Program.

o    League rules will be governed by the National Federation and as per NJSIAA. Remember that the high school rulebooks state that children in grades 8 and below  should play no more than 24 minutes per game. Try to keep that in mind and use your substitutions.

o    These rules are to be at the scorer’s table at every game and in every coach’s bag.

o    Clarification of the specific At Heart’s Length league rules should be reviewed with coaches, referees and the official scorer prior to the game.


o    Junior Boys and Girls will play four (8) minute periods, running time.

o    The clock will only stop on all whistles in the last minute of 4th QUARTER.

o    The clock will stop on all shooting fouls, mandatory substitutions during the first three quarters, extraordinary stoppages of play and of course during time outs.

o    Half time shall be Two (2) to Four (4) minutes.

o    No Overtime during regular season.


PLAYING TIME – Substitution Rule:

The spirit and intent of the following rule is to get all players on your roster into every game.

Every 4 minutes in the first THREE quarters, a new five players must enter the game. The clock will stop at the first “dead ball” nearest the 4 minute mark for the changes to take place. Referees may choose to stop the play during an appropriate time to initiate the change.

Coaches must have their substitutions already determined for a quick substitution. This is not a timeout, this is just to sub. If the official feels that it is taking too much time he may charge the offending team a time out. Free substitution is permissible in the fourth quarter.


  • No Player will be allowed to play more than 8 consecutive minutes

  - If a team has 8 or 9 players. No player shall be allowed to play another 8 consecutive minutes until the final 8 minutes of the game.

  • If a player played 8 consecutive minutes, it is mandatory to sit that player for 4 consecutive minutes of game time.

Exception to this rule ** If a player has played 12 minutes or less by the end of the Third Quarter those players are eligible to play the  entire 4th Quarter.

  • No Player will exceed more than 20 minutes in a regulation (32 Minutes) timed game. (This is assuming you have 8 or more)

  - If your team has 7 players any one players should not exceed 24 minutes. (IF A TEAM HAS 7 or LESS PLAYERS, LEAGUE MUST BE NOTIFIED AHEAD OF TIME)


With more than 10 players, teams have two options:

·         Rotate players in and out at four minute intervals, which results in some players playing eight minutes in the half and some players playing four minutes in the half, or

·         Rotate players at the two, four and/or six minute intervals, which results in some (less) players playing eight minutes in the half and some players playing six minutes in the half.

·         Here is an example of how both scenarios work, assuming twelve players (each represented by a number below):

·         Substitute only at four minute intervals (four “shifts” in the half):

o    1, 2, 3, 4, 5,    6, 7, 8, 9, 10    11, 12, 1, 2, 3    4, 5, 6, 7, 8

·         Substitute at two, four and six minute intervals:
       o    1, 2, 3, 4, 5/6    7, 8, 9, 10, 11/12    1/2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7/8, 9, 10, 11, 12

In the first example, players 9, 10, 11 and 12 only play four minutes while players 1 through 8 play eight minutes. In the second example, players 5 and 6 switch at 2:00 minutes of the first quarter, players 11 and 12, switch and 6:00 minutes of the first quarter, players 1 and 2 switch at 2:00 minutes of the second quarter and players 7 and 8 switch at 6:00 minutes of the second quarter. This results in players 3, 4, 9 and 10 playing eight minutes in the first half, and the rest playing six minutes...a fairer distribution of time.

NOTE: No player should ever play more than 4 minutes in any one quarter if a team has 10 or more available players. Note also that no matter the first half substitution, every player must play a minimum of eight minutes during the game (the All Play Rule).

Co-ed teams must have both genders on the court at the same time, subject to the substitution rules stated above. You cannot have 5 players of the same sex on the court at the same time.

Note that six players are required to start a game. Once the game is started, the game will continue despite the loss of eligible player(s) until a team has just one eligible player remaining.

Foul shots:

A player can set up closer to the basket at approximately 13 feet (regulation is 15 feet), but the shooter cannot charge the basket for the rebound until another defensive or offensive player touches the ball.

A scoreboard and scorebooks will be used from start to finish. The Home team will be the official book. All teams are to hand a copy of their game roster to the official scorer at the table and/or the opposing coach. The game roster will have all your players’ full names and uniform numbers on it so it can be transferred into the official scorebook. Failure to comply may deem the coach unsportsmanlike.

Defensive Rule

  • **Fast Break Rule** Only a single man fast break is allowed, which means, once a player grabs a rebound or gets a steal. Only that player can advance the ball by dribbling; and would have to be the one to shoot. If the player with the ball passes it, the defense has to be allowed to set itself before you can score.
  • If a team does decide to have a single man fast break, that player can be defended once he crosses half court.
  • The defensive team must start inside the 3-Point circle on each possession.
  • If no 3-Point circle is available then use the top of the key extended.
  • Once crossing the half court line, the offensive team will have 10 seconds to advance the  ball inside the 3 point circle. A team cannot freeze the ball by holding it out top. If the offensive team does not break the 3 point circle within 10 seconds of breaking the half   court line, a violation similar to backcourt shall be called. Opposing team gets the ball.
  • For each possession, once the offense breaks the plane of the three point arc with the ball, the defense is now allowed to play anywhere in the front court.
  • If there is a side-line throw in the front court, the defense must start inside the 3- point arc until the ball crosses the plane of the arc as described above.
  • If a team does decide to have a single man fast break, that player can be defended once he crosses half court.


No full or half court defense is allowed; defensive players must drop back inside the 3 point arc, or an imaginary horizontal line located at the top of the key if there is no 3 point arc, except:

Half court pressure defense is allowed during the last minute of the 4th quarter only, unless you are up by 10 or more points, then it is still not allowed.

Full court press is not allowed

If the Game ends in a tie it will be scored as a tie..

Rim Height

The rim will be lowered to 8.5 feet for the Junior boys and girls division.


The use of the small youth or women’s ball (28.5”) is mandatory. The ball must be leather or synthetic leather.

WE DO NOT WANT PLAYERS OR FANS BRINGING PERSONAL BASKETBALLS. We want to avoid a safety issue with balls rolling onto the court during the games.

Fans are also encouraged to stay off the court during any stoppage in play. This includes time outs, half time and in between quarters.

Time Outs:

5 time-outs per game; 3 full at one (1) minute and 2 thirty (30) seconds.


All uniform shirts are to remain tucked in and the shorts are to be pulled up for the entire game. Failure by a player to comply may be deemed unsportsmanlike and technical fouls may be applied. Coaches, it is your responsibility to make sure your players are uniformed properly.


No jewelry can be worn. Wearing Band-Aids applied over earrings is not acceptable. Ears should be pierced before or after the season. Please tell the parents that taking out the starter earrings for 1 hour will not hurt the process.


All Site managers must report to the League Coordinator no less than 2 hours prior to a weather cancellation. The League Coordinator will make the final decision and email the athletic directors for them to get to touch with their teams. The League Coordinator will also post the cancellation on the website.


One referee per game


The site manager is to report the scores no later than 24 hours after the game to: See league web site

Junior League Coordinator

Julian Acebo

908-342-0398 [email protected]


Any issue that might arise during the season, not noted as a rule or by-law or in print of any kind in this league, will be decided by the Coordinator of this league and thus the Coordinator’s decision will be final.

Jairo Labrador / Paul Perreira AT HEART’S LENGTH Youth Basketball League Coordinators

Jairo Labrador 908-727-0069   [email protected]

Paul Perreira 347-331-4589  [email protected]


Help Me Up Basketball League

71 Palisade Road 
Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208

Phone: 347-331-4589
Email: [email protected]

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