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How to Coach the One-Four Quick Scoring Basketball Offense - Part 1

The One-Four is effective against a zone or man-to-man. This offense is designed as a quick-hitting attack and meant to be used when you want to get off a fast shot. Also, use the one-four in special situations, such as the closing seconds of a first half, or behind late in a game.

Patience and a number of quick passes are the two most effective weapons you can use to widen the holes in a zone and then penetrate; therefore, it is best to rely more heavily on another type of zone offense, such as the Double-Post Motion to accomplish these two objectives.

1-4 quick scoring basketball offense diagram

DIAGRAM QH-1: #1 signals signaled Offense #1 and players move up as illustrated on the left. #4 and #5 take post positions parallel to the foul line just outside the circle. #2 and #3 move into wing positions at the foul line extended. All four logical receivers face #1 as he dribbles the ball into the offensive half-court. #1 has the responsibility of eliminating a possible weak-side defensive help. In most cases, he does this by tying the defense down to one side initially. He then reverses his dribble quickly to the other side before setting the intended play in motion. The three basic plays built into Offense #1 are the post option, wing option and dribble option. Since each of these plays are executed on the left or right side of the court, #1 has six possibilities open to him. His decision may be influenced by the strategy of the moment, such as exploit a mismatch, or need to draw a key opposing player into foul trouble. #1 might see #2 being overplayed, thus he will attempt to get the ball to #4 on the post and exercising as illustrated in QH-2.

1-4 quick scoring basketball offense diagram

DIAGRAM QH-2: This post option was Coach McCutchan’s favorite and most effective plays and has been around for years. #1 sees defender 2 pressing #2 and passes to #4 on the post. #2 goes hard backdoor and looks for a left-handed bounce pass from #4. If #2 does not receive the ball as he approaches the lane, he button-hooks away from the basket, or into the lane if the defense is waiting for him. This back-door cut and button-hook is difficult for defender 2 to cover. It is important to note that if #4 cannot make the left hand bounce pass to the cutter #2, he looks for #2 button-hooking by turning toward the basket in the direction of #5. #4 must use the right foot for the pivot as he makes the turn. This is essential for three reasons. First, by turning his back on defender 2, the defender has the tendency to let up once he stops the back-door. This helps make #2’s buttonhook all the more effective. Secondly, the move minimizes the effectiveness of defender 1, who will tend to jam back on #4 when #1 moves to the wing after passing. Finally, #4’s pivot in the direction of #5 pins defender 5 to #5, away from the basket area in anticipation of a possible #4 to #5 pass. #1 moves into #2’s wing position after passing to #4. #3 brings defender 3 out with him as he moves to fill #1’s spot. All these moves are designed to give #2 a wide area under the basket where he can take his defender one-on-one. This same post option can be used on the opposite side of the floor. If #1 throws to #5 initially, #3 moves backdoor. In this case #5 uses his left foot to pivot and make the turn in the direction of #4. Timing is important in effective execution of the Post Option and is given special attention during the special drill covered later on in this chapter.


This part explains how to use the one-four as a transition, quick-hitter, or use against a defender in foul trouble

1-4 quick scoring basketball offense diagram

DIAGRAM QH-3: Transition into Passing Game: In the event #4 does not pass to #2 as diagramed above, we automatically go into the Passing Game offense (Offense #3). If #4 passes to #3, #5, or back to #1, he breaks low and assumes the initial low-post position of the Passing Game. #5 is already high as the transition is made.

1-4 quick scoring basketball offense diagram

DIAGRAM QH-4: Quick Dribble Option: This play is designed for a good point guard to come off a screen and put up a quick shot; however, it also frees one of the post men inside and is often used when an opponent’s big man is in foul trouble. #1 staggers his dribble to signal that he will dribble in, rather than pass.

Both posts set screens. #1, knowing that defender 4 is in foul trouble, chooses the right side and dribbles off the screen set by #4. #2 cuts hard toward the basket, but stops before he gets to the lane if he does not get the pass. He then backs off to the corner. #3 drops down to the left corner. As #1 comes off his screen, #4 rolls to the goal. #1 may go for the quickie; however, if the object is to exploit defender 4, #1’s first look will be to #4 rolling to the basket. #1 could pass to #2, but in the event #4 is being fronted, the more effective way would bet for #5 to relay as shown in Diagram GH5.

1-4 quick scoring basketball offense diagram

DIAGRAM QH-5: This is a continuation of Diagram GH4. As #1 dribbled right, defender 5 likely would have given ground to give defensive help. #1 seeing #4 fronted, reverse pivots and passes to #5, #4 seals defender 4 then steps in to receive a pass from #5. Notice that #4 low and #5 high are in perfect position for the Passing Game.

Go to next page if your aim is to get the ball, under pressure, to a big man on the inside.

Related articles: [Part 1]  [Part 2]  [Part 3]

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