High school basketball games are divided into four 8-minute quarters or two 16-minute halves. College basketball games are divided into two 20-minute halves. This is also true for WNBA and foreign games. NBA-NBA games last four 12-minute quarters. In international football (soccer), the average length of a match is 90 minutes, with a penalty shootout if necessary.
In high school sports, time limits were originally imposed by the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations (NFHS). The first championship events for which time limits were specified were the boys' high jump and pole vault at the 1934 National High School Track & Field Championships. The NFHS adopted uniform time limits for all its championships from 1936 to 1990. Since 1991 each sport has had the ability to set its own time limit range through its national governing body. As of 2014, no event has done so.
Time limits were originally used to ensure an even distribution of play during a contest. If a game went beyond its time limit, then the clock would be started over again at number one center court. This was done to prevent teams that were still playing strong defense or taking frequent free throws from being overwhelmed by stronger opponents who had more opportunity to score points. Time limits were also used to determine a winner and award a title.
The game is divided into four quarters of 10 (FIBA) or 12 minutes (NBA). College men's games have two 20-minute halves, whereas college women's games have ten-minute quarters, and most high school varsity games in the United States have eight-minute quarters; however, this varies by state. In addition, some high school boys' games are also played with eight-minute quarters.
In the NBA, the first quarter lasts approximately seven minutes, the second quarter between nine and ten minutes, the third quarter usually around five minutes, and the fourth quarter lasts approximately five minutes.
In the FIBA Basketball World Cup, each team has one chance per period to score points. The first quarter ends when either team scores or after eight minutes, the second quarter ends when either team scores or after ten minutes, and so on.
In international competitions such as the Olympic Games and the FIBA Basketball World Cup, time remains constant during commercial breaks. Thus, in these events, there are no timeouts during play.
In the NBA Finals, each team has one chance per period to score points.
The baskets are elevated 10 feet above the ground and are positioned on a backboard at either end of the basketball court. The free-throw line is 15 feet from the backboard's face. The distance between the three-point line and the hoop varies according on the level of basketball being played. 19 feet, 9 inches = high school NCAA is equal to 20 feet, 9 inches.
High school teams are permitted to play four eight-minute quarters as one game. Men's college basketball is divided into two twenty-minute halves, while women's college basketball is divided into four ten-minute quarters. The NBA consists of four twelve-minute segments.
High school basketball games are broken into four quarters of eight minutes each. Each quarter will go significantly longer than 8 minutes, averaging approximately 18 minutes. Because the game grows more heated throughout these times, the third and fourth quarters may be longer than the first and second quarters.
Changes to the Official Rules High school teams are permitted to play four eight-minute quarters (college basketball plays two twenty-minute halves). Basketball officials must arrive on the floor fifteen minutes before the game begins.