Here’s Why Double Low Alignment is an Effective Zone Offense

By Rory Hamilton

double low vs 3-2 or 1-3-1 zone

Unlock scoring opportunities with double low alignment – placing both post players on the low block with a focus on screening and slipping.

Hopefully by now, you’re aware that I’ve been writing about offensive concepts this off season, including zone offense tips and 1-4 sets to score. This post will dive into how to break down odd front zones such as 3-2, 1-2-2 and 1-3-1.

There are several ways to attack an odd front zone, but I’m going to focus on using a double low post alignment like we do at Norman North HS. We like this alignment for several reasons:

        1.  The offense is great for freeing up shooters using baseline screens.

        2.  It allows post players to pin in and seal out the bottom zone defenders.

        3.  The offense provides great rebounding opportunities for your post players.

        4.  The alignment makes it easier to get the ball inside versus the zone.

        5.  It provides diagonal and skip pass opportunities, which are useful when attacking odd front zones.

Double Low vs 3-2 Zone or 1-2-2

Using two post players in a double low alignment provides several nice scoring options versus a 3-2 zone. Your best shooting guard can use both posts as screeners for shots along the baseline and FT line area. Post players should always look to find the ball after every screen they set for the shooter along the baseline. We also want our post players to “seal out” and “pin in” the bottom defenders of the 3-2.

Double Low vs 1-3-1 Zone

You can also use the double low zone offense to attack a 1-3-1.  One of the weaknesses of the 1-3-1 zone is the diagonal pass from the slot area to the weak side block. Positioning both posts on the block allows multiple diagonal pass opportunities while running offense. The weak side post is always looking  to “seal out” and “pin in” the wing of the 1-3-1. The strong side post is setting baseline screens on the bottom of the zone attempting to free up the baseline runner for a potential shot. If you are going to play with two post players, double low may be a good option for your team next season.

I hope these zone offenses and concepts will help you be more efficient and effective versus zone defenses next season.  If you have any questions or would like to share your ideas for attacking odd front zones, feel free to email me at hamiltonr@norman.k12.ok.us or follow me on Twitter @twolveshoops. Happy Hoopin!

For more on Zone Offense Alignment, check out this post from Radius Athletics.


More from Coach Hamilton: All Plays & Drills | All Blog Posts | 1-4 to ScoreAttacking a Match-up Zone | Man-to-Man Defense Series


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Rory Hamilton

Rory Hamilton

Rory Hamilton has 21 years of basketball coaching experience at the collegiate and high school level. Coach Hamilton is the current girls basketball coach at Norman North High School. In 5 years his team has posted a 85-49 record, won four mid-season tournament titles and appeared in five 6A area tournaments. In 2019, Norman North won the silver ball losing in the 6A state championship game to Norman High School. Coach Hamilton was named Central Oklahoma Conference girls coach of the year along with earning Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association Large Class All-State coach. Prior to Norman North, he served as the head girls coach at Mount St. Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City, OK. In seven years at MSM, he posted a 108-75 record and is the winningest girls coach in school history. Coach Hamilton led the Rockets to three consecutive 4A state tournament appearances. In 2011-2012, the Rockets had a 20-7 record and made it to the state tournament for the first time in school history. The next year in 2012-2013, the Rockets posted a 25-6 record and earned the silver ball, losing in the 4A state championship game to Fort Gibson. In 2013-2014, the Rockets posted a 23-7 record and lost to Anadarko in the 4A state tournament semifinals. Coach Hamilton was named Central Oklahoma Conference coach of the year three times and was selected to coach the Little All-City all-star game three consecutive years from 2012-2014. Coach Hamilton has coached 6 NCAA Division 1 players, 6 NCAA Division II players and several playing at the NAIA and NJCAA levels.
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