1-2-2 Half-Court Zone Defense & 1-2-2 Half-Court Trap

The 1-2-2 half-court zone defense provides strong on-the-ball pressure at the top of the key and great coverage against perimeter shooters, while keeping the rules for the point guard and two low post players very simple.

This defense can be disguised initially as a straight man-to-man by extending the point-defender into the backcourt.  The high-post and center of the defense are vulnerable in this type of setup, so this defense is best applied to perimeter-oriented teams.

This defense can also be extended as a 1-2-2 half-court trap to disrupt offensive flow and create turnovers. Please see 1-2-2 Zone Press for further details on how to extend this to a full-court trapping or containment situation.

1-2-2 Half-Court Zone Defense Rules
  • The 1-2-2 zone has five primary areas of coverage:
    • The point-guard covers the center of the court, from the high-post area to the top of the key.
    • The other two perimeter defenders guard the wings
    • The two post-players cover the middle of the court to the corner on their respective sides.
  1. Key vulnerabilities:
    1. High post.
    2. Short-corners and low post.
  • Because most teams tend to initiate offense on the right side of the floor, it’s best to align the place the center on the back left side of formation to provide rim protection and better rebounding.
  • Wing Coverage:
    • Ball passed to 2 on the wing.
    • x2 must covers the ball.
    • x1 drops immediately to cover the high-post area. This movement needs to immediate and is critical to closing out a key vulnerability.
    • x3 moves in tandem with x2, covering the middle of the paint. strong-side low post.
    • x5 slides over to middle of paint.
  • Ball in Corner:
    • When ball goes to 3 in the corner, x5 jumps out to cover.
    • x5 will rotate over to deny entry pass to low post.
    • x2 sags to help defend penetration or the low post if necessary.
  • Optional Corner Trap:
    • When ball goes to 3 in the corner, x2 and x4 immediately trap the ballhandler.
      x5 will rotate over to deny entry pass to low post.
  • Optional Extra Inside Coverage:
    • When ball goes into the corner, x2 can also drop to sit right on top above the low post to provide x5 with extra interior support.
  • Optional Wing Denial from Corner:
    • If ball is in corner, x2 can full deny the reversal pass back out to 2 at the wing.
1-2-2 Half-Court Trap

The rules below outline the trap out of the 1-2-2 formation, using the half-court line as an additional defender. This trap manages the risk by always having a single protector guarding the rim as the last line of defense. Frequently it works best with a single initial trap once the ballhandler cross half-court.

  • Trapping guideline: “Two on the ball, two in the lanes, and one protector”.
  • x1 picks up in the backcourt and influences ball towards sideline.
  • x2 jumps to set trap with x1. x1 and x2 become the “two on the ball“.
  • x3 bumps to the short middle lane, looking to stop any offensive player flashing down the middle or coming from behind the defense.
  • x4 bumps to sideline, on and up the sideline passing lane obscuring the passer’s vision.
  • x3 and x4 are now the “two in the lanes“.
  • x5 bumps to middle lane and becomes the “protector” (last line of defense protecting the basket).
  • Ball Reversal:
    • 1 passes to 2.
    • x3 jumps to stop  the ball while x1 recovers to trap.
    • x2 moves in tandem with x3 and bumps to short-middle lane.
    • x5 bumps up to cover one pass away on the ball-side.
    • x4 bumps to middle, moving in tandem with x5, becoming the protector.
  • You can run a more aggressive variation of this defense where x3 will full deny the reversal pass to 2 while x4 is denying the pass down the sideline.
Helpful DVDs
1-2-2 Containment Press Defense
Coach Bobby Gonzalez provides instruction and insight for implementing and effectively using the 1-2-2 Contain Press Defense. As a 3/4 court zone trapping press defense, the 1-2-2 Contain Press Defense can be used to create steals and deflections, slow down the offense, and shut down secondary break scoring opportunities. You can adjust this press defense to best match your opponents’ style of play and also transition into a man or zone defense. Use the 1-2-2 Contain Press Defense to control the tempo of a game, minimize opponents’ fast breaks, and create more scoring opportunities.
Joanne McCallie: 1-2-2 Match-Up Zone
Join Duke Women’s Basketball Coach Joanne P. McCallie as she leads you through principles and responsibilities of the 1-2-2 Match-Up Zone. Coach McCallie’s on-court demonstration includes pass rules, dribble rules, rules vs. cutters, rules vs. a two-guard front, rules vs. the Pick and Pop and rules against two high posts for these attacking defenses. Coach McCallie opens by explaining
the four principles that your defensive scheme must follow if you want to be successful. Breaking down the 1-2-2 Match-Up, McCallie emphasizes that you must disrupt the ball, eliminate passing lanes and place pressure on the offense.

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