Two Proven Offensive Sets to Attack Zone Defenses

Spice up your playbook this season with a pair of basketball plays that effectively attack zone defenses. After getting a breakdown of each play, watch as an actual team runs through them at full speed. This week’s collection offers a number of options for offenses and favor open shots from the perimeter. 

Wolf Against Zone Defense

Submitted by Kevin Sivils, Houston Christian High School, Houston, Texas

Setup: Player 1 should be your point guard. Player 2 is your best three-point shooter. Player 5 is your best low post player. Player 4 is your best screener. Player 3 should be your other guard or small forward.

Player 1 takes the ball out on the sideline. Player 5 starts in the near corner while player 2 is on the nearside low block. Player 4 is a few feet from the sideline and close to the inbounder. Player 3 is in between the three-point line and half court.

Action: When the official hands player 1 the ball, player 5 screens down for 2 while player 4 screens down for 3. Player 2 comes off the screen and to the corner looking for a three-point shot. Player 3 goes into the backcourt as a safety option.

Options: If player 2 doesn’t have the shot, he should feed the post. Look for a lob if the situation presents it. Meanwhile, player 4 then backscreens 1’s defender and 1 cuts to the foul line. Player 2 can now hit 1 for a layup or 1 can hit 5.

If the ball is inbounded to player 3, player 4 backscreens for 1, who cuts to ballside off the screen. Player 3 hits 1 driving to the foul line. On 3’s pass to 1 , 5 backscreens to 2. Player 1 can now drive for layup or hit 2 cutting to the basket.

Finally, if player 2 gets the inbound pass but can’t hit the shot or feed to 5, player 1 steps inbounds and sets up for a return pass and shot against the zone.


Half-Court Set for a Three-Point Shot

Submitted by Keith Cooper, St. Martin’s College, Lacey, WA

Setup: Player 1 starts up top with the ball. Players 2 and 5 are stacked on the right low block. Players 3 and 4 are stacked on the left low block.

Action: Player 1 starts by dribbling to the right wing area. Players 2 and 5 immediately set a double screen for 3, who cuts to the corner. After the screen, 2 loops to the top of the key. 4 and 5 remain in the post.

The play continues as player 1 then passes to 2. After this, 4 breaks up and sets a diagonal backpick for 1, who cuts to the left low block. 5 remains on his block while 3 stays behind the three-point line.

Finish: Next, player 4 steps out after setting the backpick and receives the pass from 2. Players 3 and 5 set a double screen on the baseline for 1. 4 passes to 1 in the corner coming off the double screen on the baseline. Player 1 catches and shoots a quick three-pointer.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 50 Set Plays to Attack Zone Defenses.”  Know of any effective plays to beat the zone? Tell us below or e-mail us at and we’ll feature it in an upcoming article!

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