Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Zone offence
X-gap vs 1-3-1

Alan Lambert

1 reverses the ball to 2 to enter the offence. The primary objective is to get the ball to the high post at any time. Whenever the ball goes to the high post or is reversed from one guard to the other, 3 cuts hard to the block, creating a temporary triangle between the high post and the low post.


We don't encourage a ballside corner pass from 2 to 3 because the defence is shifting in this direction which makes it easy to trap the ball and difficult to get an open corner shot. The best way to get open shots against the 1-3-1 is the diagonal corner pass after ball reversal. 1 then flares away and spots up.

If 1 does not pass to 3, 3 runs the baseline to the other corner using a screen from 4.


On a skip pass to 1, or a ball passed from the corner back to 2 then reversed to 1, 4 cuts hard diagonally to the low post calling for the ball, 5 flashes hard to the ball side high post immediately after 4 has left the high post area, 3 cuts to the basket again creating an attacking triangle.
4 slashing to the right block draws the middle defender of the 1-3-1, and 5 flashing directly behind 4's cut gets an open high-post shot.
With patience, good ball movement and spacing, the 1-3-1 tends to flatten to defend the corner shot and post. When this happens the return pass from 3 to 1 creates a good 3-point shot opportunity.



One of the most effective passes is the diagonal skip pass to the weakside corner. This works best when the ball is reversed from 2 to 1 and the trapping defence comes hard to the ball. 1 can pump fake toward 4 and then make the diagonal skip to 3. The only defender that can get to the corner is the weakside zone defender. If they chase too early, 5 is open under the basket. If the top man in the zone chases, 3 simply passes quickly to 2 who is wide open on the three-point line.

Option - 4 can step out to the short corner, move back in to screen for 3 if he does not get a pass from 1.


Double high-post option

Against an aggressive trapping team, bring up two high post players every time the ball is passed back out front (ballside elbow, and weakside elbow or even a little higher). This forces the weakside defender in the 1-3-1 to choose between taking away the ball reversal to the guard or the weakside high post pass.
3 starts in the corner and steps up enough to be a release if 1 is trapped. On ball reversal to 2, 5 slides to the left side block, and 4 steps into high post. 3 cuts baseline off a screen by 5 for a corner shot. Motion is the same as with regular X-gap, although 3 may not always be using a baseline screen.
If the defence extends out to trap before the ball reaches the midcourt line, immediately bring the second post player high to create a double high post.


When weakside high post 5 receives the ball, 4 immediately cuts diagonally to the basket. 3 then slashes to the basket to create the attacking triangle, and may be able to get a pass on the backdoor cut. The weakside guard may be able to lob the ball to 3.

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-19 Eric Johannsen coacheric53@gmail.com