Help for sports photography

I just returned from casually shooting a couple of high school basketball games my siblings were playing in. Sports shooting has always seemed challenging to me, and after I finish perusing my pictures I am always disappointed. Today was no exception. So I’m asking if there are any settings or tips to create better photos.

I didn’t use a flash (really annoys players and audience alike), so my images were grainy because I used ISO 1600. The fast action was also slightly blurred, even though I was at 1/320 or 1/400 shutter speed. Shouldn’t that be enough to freeze running people? Anything faster and the image was too dark. I can live with noise, but I hate darkness and blur. I was at f/ 2.8 the whole time. (As far as my other camera settings, I couldn’t tell you because I don’t know.)

It’s a fact that the lighting wasn’t ideal, but it seemed like it should have been better. Are there any suggestions? any recommended avenues for overcoming poor lighting? :) Thanks!!

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