Attacking a Box & One Defense


"Pound Cake"


One of the easiest and most effective ways to attack the Box & One defense, is to isolate the star player 1-on-1 in the middle. Normally, the chaser of the Box & one defense is very skilled in pass denial, but ill prepared for post defense. Even the best of post defenders have a tough time defending a good player in the low post area against four outside feeders. In addition, the 2-1-2 alignment takes away defensive help. If a good shot is not available on the post isolation, the star player has options of rolling to the basket for single/double screen action or popping out to the top of the circle compounding the difficultly of the "Chaser" of defensive assignment.

| Post Isolation | Base Screens | Pop Out | Implementation | Case for the Defense |

Offensive Fundamentals Required

Learn More   Proper Execution of On Ball Screens

Learn More   Setting & Using Off Ball Screens

Learn More  Executing Double Screens

Learn More Offensive Rebounding

Schematic Sequence

Pound Cake Schematic


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Post Isolation

Post Isolation

The primary option of the "Pound Cake" box & 1 offense is to isolate the star's defender 1-on-1 in the post area.

1-on-1 with Drops

When a post defender helps out on the star's penetration, the star can simply make a drop pass to the post back cutting to the basket for an easy shot.


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Base Screens

Single/Double Screen

When a good shot is not avail off the post isolation, O4 and O5 set base screens. The star play can roll to the basket and use either screen.

Base Screen Left

When the defender is positioned on the right side, the Star takes the defender right and then breaks left off of O5's base screen.

Base Screen Right

If the defender is positioned on the left side, the Star takes the defender left and then breaks right off of O4's screen.


Basic Reads



Read: "Chase" trails off the base screen.

Counter: The star player X3 curls to basket for feed.


Fade Option

Read: Defender goes over the base screen.

Counter: The star player fades to baseline for shot.

Back Cut

back cut

Read: Defender cheats over screen early.

Counter: The star player back cuts to basket and weakside base screen.

Screen & Roll

Basket Roll

Read: Defenders switch

Counter: screener rolls to basket for feed.

Ball Reversal - Post Flash

Post Flash

When a good shot is not available off the base screen, O1 makes a reversal pass to O2, who in turn passes to O5 stepping out. The Star player curls back into the middle for shot.

Post Isolation

Post Isolation

If O5 or O2 cannot feed the Star isolated against X3, ball is reversed to O1 or O2 for the feed.

Additional Options

Screener Pop

base screen

After setting the base screen for the Star, the screener has the option of going off the opposite base screen for shot.

Guard Basket Cut

Base Screen 2

If O1 is not able to feed the Star coming off the base screen, O1 can make a reversal pass across to O2 and cut to the basket off O5's base screen.


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Pop 1-on-1 Isolation

Instead of rolling to the basket, the star player has the option of popping out for an 1-on-1 isolation .

Pop Out

When the Star pops out, posts O4 and O5 step out to short corner area while O1 and O1 along with O2 flare to the wings spotting up within the Star's vision. This opens up the middle allowing the Star to go 1-on-1 with their defender.

1-on-1 Isolation

If a post helps out on against the dribble penetration, the Star looks to make a drop pass to the post cutting baseline to the basket. If a wing defender sags off to help, the Star looks to make a kick out pass to the wing spotting up for an open outside shot.


Double Mid-Screens ("Horns") Variation

Double Mid Screens

Screen & Roll Action

Posts O4 and O5 have the option of stepping up and setting double mid-screens with O1 and O2 spotting up for open outside shots creating severe match-up problems for the box zone. O1 and O2 can also set the double mid-screens.

To Learn More About Executing Double Mid-Screens - Click Here


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Offense Working Knowledge

Like any offense, the key to the success of the "Box & One - Chase" Offense is in its execution and coordination. Players need to be well prepared to execute mid screens, base screens and strong post ups. In addition, players have to think and function as one unit. This requires proper defensive recognition, non-verbal communication, timing and experience.


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Breakdown Drills:

View/Print  3 Up 1-on-1 Competition

View/Print 4-on-4 Shell: Post Isolation Drill

View/Print 4-on-4 Shell: Base Screens Breakdown Drill

View/Print  Half and Full Court Scrimmaging


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Game Strategies

Box & One Offense

Scout your opponent if possible. Players need to know what reads to expect during the game. Opponents will generally use only a primary and secondary defense technique in defending screens and post ups. In addition, to their defensive schemes, observer their player match ups. Educate and explain the anticipated defensive reads and their counters. When scouting is not possible, scout your opponent during the game.

Coach not spectator

Be conscience and alert to any defensive changes or adjustments, especially after substitutions and timeouts. Don't hesitate in deploying various alignments and entries during the game so that defenders cannot focus on defending just one set. Move players around and attack the weakest defenders.


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No Basket Logo

Box & One Defense

The most commonly used combination defense is the "Box and One." In this particular defense four defensive players play a box zone guarding areas while one player (the "Chaser") assumes an aggressive, full out pass denial position, and does not allow their opponent to receive a pass or grab a rebound. The chaser's sole responsibility is to deny their opponent the ball.

To learn more about the Box & One Defense - Click Here





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