There are many different ways that you can get involved in basketball other than playing, coaching or being a fan. Becoming a referee or official are fun and important ways of participating in our great game..

The role of the officials is to ensure the game is played in a fair and safe manner and within the rules.  Refereeing is the most physical active as they are on court and “call” the game.  Other technical officials perform various roles on the score bench and statistics.


Most sports have a referee or umpire whose role is to ensure that the game is played according to the rules.  The role of the basketball referee is exactly this – to ensure the game is played safely and fairly.

The referee enforces the rules of the game and in a game will make hundreds of decisions – determining when a violation or foul occurs and then stopping the game to issue the correct penalty.  Often the decision is “no call” because there was no violation or foul, but the referee must constantly watch the play.

Unlike players (who are likely to be substituted for rests during the game) the referees (there are two on the majority of games and three on higher-level games) are on-court the whole game and work together to do the best job the game.  It’s not easy but it can be incredibly rewarding!


Before the start of the game, the referees check that the game is ready to go.  This includes checking that:

    • Both teams have completed the score-sheet and players are in the correct uniform;
    • All equipment is ready (in some junior the height of the ring or size of the ball may need to be changed);
    • Scorers (and if applicable statisticians) are present and ready.

Accordingly, referees are encouraged to get to the game at least 10 minutes before it is due to start.

During the game, the referee ensures that it is played according to the rules.  This includes stopping play for time-outs or substitutions when requested by a coach.  Often local competitions will vary timing rules etc (to best fit all the games that have to be played) and the referees need to check what specific rules are used.

At the conclusion of all games, the referee checks the score sheet and sign-offs that the game was completed. In many associations, a paper score sheet is no longer used and instead a tablet or computer is used for keeping score.  However, it is done, the referee is responsible to check at the end of the game that the score has been recorded correctly.


There are lots of reasons why people get involved in refereeing. Some of the common reasons are:

    • Participate in the sport and being part of the community;
    • Improve their knowledge and understanding of the rules of basketball;
    • Making friends;
    • Earning “pocket money”, saving for a holiday etc
    • Keep fit;
    • Have fun!

Some referees are interested only in helping at their local association whilst others may aspire to state, national or international competition!  The pathway exists so that everyone can participate to the level of their skill and interest.


KDBA is always on the lookout for enthusiastic, hard working people who are interested in becoming a referee, either as a casual at local level or looking for a pathway to becoming a high level referee with NBL1 and even NBL aspirations.

Contact us to find out more on how you can get started refereeing at KDBA.


My name is Abbey Dunsmore and I am a referee at KDBA.

I did my beginner level referee course back in 2012, since then I have been lucky enough to be mentored by multiple referees which have made me the referee I am today.

First I began just reffing domestic, which then went on to me reffing WABL. While I was reffing WABL I was I was also playing WABL all the way up until U18s and Divison One. As I worked my way through the different ages/divisions and as I got older my love for refereeing grew and grew.

In 2016 after a solid year of refereeing I was selected to represent Western Australia at the Southern Cross Challenge in Melbourne. This was the first step of many for my development at a high level. After returning to Perth I was approach to join the what used to be called the State Referee Development Program (SRDP). This program allowed me to excel through to referee high level U18 and U20 games which then lead into opportunities to referee in the division one competition.

During the following years I attended multiple national level competitions, these included a zebra tour, the under 14 school national tournament and then late last year, after a season in which I would say was not one of my best due to injury I was selected to represent WA at the Australian School Championships in Melbourne. I successfully completed the tournament getting the bronze medal girls game.

After a few years in this program the structure changed which now has become the WABL program and SBL program. I am lucky enough to be apart of the SBL Development Referee Program which has lead me to receiving my first SBL contract in 2019.

This pathway has not been easy, hard work and dedication is a must when wanting to achieve in the referee world. I have not been lucky with multiple injuries setting me back but with persistence and dedication I have been successful in achieving everything I had set out to do.

I am now currently waiting for the SBL, D-League and WABL season to begin again. I want to be able to mentor referees below me wanting to take those steps to be selected for the elite programs and become better referees in general. I will be using my spare time to get down to WABL games and domestic competitions to referee coach and mentor those who wish to move forward.

Abbey Dunsmore, KDBA Referee Leadership Group


Imagine watching your favourite basketball team play a game with no timer, no scoreboard or no stat sheet. You wouldn’t know if they were winning, how much time was left to play nor how many points your favourite player scored!

In basketball, it is the score bench officials that keep the score and time.  In local competitions, it may be done by parents, or even the teams themselves.  However, in higher grades, specialised score bench officials will perform the roles.


In higher level games, there are 5 specific score bench positions:

  • Chairperson
  • Scorer
  • Assistant Scorer
  • Timekeeper
  • 24-second shot clock operator

Score bench officials work as a team with the referees to maintain the scoring and timekeeping of the game.

The basic duties of each score bench position are:

  • Chairperson:Ensure the smooth operation on the score bench and communicates with the referees.
  • Scorer: Completes the scoresheet.
  • Assistant Scorer: This position is not always required but when present will assist with operating the scoreboard.
  • Timekeeper:Operate the game clock and in most situations also operate the scoreboard.
  • 24-second shot clock operator:Operate the shot clock by stopping and resetting according to the rules.

In high-level basketball teams have a maximum of 24 seconds to attempt a shot once they obtain possession of the ball.  If they miss a shot but are able to rebound (catch) the ball they are given another 14 seconds to attempt a shot.  This 24 or 14-second count is displayed on a separate display to the scoreboard, which is operated by the “shot clock” operator.  In most games at a community level, a shot clock is not used.


Just like referees, there are many reasons why people might become a score bench official.  Most score bench officials are fans of the game who enjoy being involved at the local level. They become score bench officials to support basketball and the teams love.

Being a score bench official does not require the same level of fitness and mobility that is needed to be a referee so score bench can be a great way to stay connected to the game.

For a introductory guide to scoring a basketball game or becoming a score bench official, please download the document below.

Level 0 Scoretable v2020


The score bench officials keep track of two main statistics:

  • the score;
  • the fouls that have been called

However, there are many other aspects of the game that can be recorded, and which add great interest an excitement for the fans and also for the players.  These additional statistics also help coaches to review the performance of their teams.  Common statistics are:

  • the number of shots taken and from where they were taken
  • rebounds (when a player catches the ball after a missed shot)
  • assists (when a player passes the ball to a teammate who scores)
  • steals (when a player gains possession from an opponent)
  • turnovers (when a player loses possession of the ball)

The role of the statistician is to record all aspects of the game, which is now usually done on a computer, tablet or smartphone or manually with a paper template.

Full statistics are not taken in most local competitions but they are in more elite competitions.

The effective recording of statistics usually requires at least two people. One to “call” the game by commentating every event which requires statistical recording and the other to “record” the game by making the statistical entries and following the caller’s instructions.

When statistics are collected using a computer it means that fans can follow the game even if they are not able to attend.


A statistician does not have to have played basketball and training will explain the various statistics that are kept.  Then, it is a matter of watching games and getting to understand what an “assist” or a “turnover” etc.  Often, two statistics will be recorded from the one event.  For example, a turnover by an offensive player may also be a steal for the defensive player.

There are some local competitions that do statistics on a competition, however, anyone can get involved by attending a statistics course which is usually arranged by the state associations.

Once you have level 1 accreditation you can participate in state competitions and from there can progress to Australian Junior Championship events, the National Wheelchair Leagues, the Women’s National League (WNBL), the Men’s National Basketball League (NBL) and onto international games hosted in Australia.


Some people really enjoy the recording and analysis of data and it gives them a different insight into the game.  Other people may simply want to stay involved in the game after they have played, coached or officiated at a high level.  The reasons for becoming a statistician are many and varied and like refereeing and score bench it can be an incredibly rewarding way to be a part of the basketball community!