THE INTENT AND PURPOSE OF THE RULES The restrictions which the rules place upon the players are intended to create a balance of play; to provide equal opportunity between the offense and the defense; to provide equal opportunity between the small player and tall player; to provide reasonable risk minimization; to create an atmosphere of sporting behavior and fair play; and to emphasize cleverness and skill without unduly limiting freedom of action of individual or team play on either offense or defense. Therefore, it is important to know the intent and purpose of a rule so that it may be intelligently applied in each play situation. A player or a team should not be permitted an advantage which is not intended by a rule. Neither should play be permitted to develop which may lead to placing a player at a disadvantage not intended by a rule. It is the policy of the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee that there be no deviation from the rules unless experimental approval has been granted by the NFHS liaison to the rules committee.
THE GAME – Basketball is played by two teams of five players each. The purpose of each team is to throw the ball into its own basket and to prevent the other team from scoring. The ball may be thrown, batted, rolled or dribbled in any direction, subject to restrictions laid down in the following rules.