1.3.2 1-3-1 Match up defence
The key concepts of the 1-1-3 defence are:
- Deny all penetrating passes;
- Influence the ball to one side of the court and keep it there;
- Deny passes to the post – “front” low post players;
- Keep hands up and active to stop passes;
- Never let a cutter on the “strong side” get in front of a defender.
Initially one guard (x1) defends the ball – the “up” guard. The second guard (x2) denies the high post area. The guards have responsibility to guard the ball above the free throw line.
The “frontline” (x3, x4 and x5) take position in the back of the zone, staying in front of any low post player.
When the ball is passed to the wing, the front line moves to defend the ball. The frontline and the guards adjust to form a “box” with two defenders at the high and low post (in front of any offensive players) and two defenders in the “help” position.
The players in the “help” position are positioned the same as “split line” in “man to man”.
When the ball is passed to the strong side wing, the front line defender in the low post “fronts”. The help defender becomes particularly important in order to stop any lob passes into the post.
Pressure on the wing player (so that they cannot make the lob pass) is also very important.
Defending the dribbler
Where the ball is dribbled from the point, the up guard defends that. On any reversal pass, the up guard and the back guard switch (this is shown in red.)
If the ball is then reversed to the point, the “back” guard moves to defend the ball. They should hesitate before moving, to give the other guard time to recover to the high post position.
The middle player in the frontline can also hedge toward the foul line to provide additional protection.
This restores the initial alignment.
When the up guard is defending at the wing, should the ball be passed to the point, the guard must sprint to the middle of the high post area. They will not be guarding either wing on the next pass and must focus on defending the high post area.
On a pass to the corner, the nearest front line player defends the corner player and the opposite front line player moves across the baseline to front any low post player. They should move on the baseline side of a post player.
The front line player that was defending the high post, rotates down to the help position. They do not move to the low post (although they may be closer) as they have a poor angle and could be easily sealed by the post player.
Practising the 1-1-3 Match Up Zone
An effective way of developing any match up zone defence is to play it against 6, 7 or even 8 offensive players. Initially, limiting the offensive players to passing the ball and then allowing them freedom to dribble and ultimately cut.
When a team is initially learning the “slides” or movements within the match up zone, it can be useful to work separately with the guards and the frontline.
The high post must be denied by the guards at all times, but once the player has the ball, it is a player from the frontline who has responsibility to defend the post player.
When the high post receives the ball, the middle player in the front line (x4) hedges towards them. If the high post turns to face the basket, it is x4’s responsibility to defend the player as closely as possible.
Rebounding in the 1-1-3 Match Up
If the shot is taken from either the corner or the wing, the frontline defender who is in front of the low post player has no “blocking out” responsibilities (as they are in a poor position). They should drop step past the post player into the key to contest for the rebound.
Other players rotate away from where the shot was taken and “find a body” to box out.
However, if there is a player in the corner, x5 (who was fronting low post) is responsible to box out the corner player.
Trapping in the 1-1-3
Trapping in the 1-1-3 is mostly done in the corner, with the wing defender following the pass to act as a “trapper”.
The frontline defender and guard still front any low or high post players, being active to intercept any pass.
The back guard must move down to be in a help position behind any low post player.
However, if the screen is effective, the guard may need to rotate to defend the ball.
The simple rule is that whoever can get there quicker is the player that defends the ball.