BHILWARA, JAN 4 : Delhi will meet Chhattisgarh in the women’s final while Uttarakhand will lock horns with Tamil Nadu in the men’s final of the 65th Senior National Basketball Championship. In the women’s semi-finals, Delhi beat Kerala by 71-63 and Chhattisgarh prevailed over Indian Railways by 83-79 points. In the men’s semi-finals, Uttarakhand defeated Haryana by 86-44 points and Tamil Nadu ousted Services by 86-73 points.
In the last semi-final match of the day, Tamil Nadu men’s sustained scoring through four quarters saw them beat Services 86-73 to enter the finals. The teams exchanged the lead as many as 14 times through the first 25 minutes of the game, but in the last quarter and a half, Services faltered time and again to hand the defending champions a 13-point win. Veteran international point guard from Services Sambhaji Kadam battled hard to stay in the match, but his injury troubles over the last year and a half meant that he had to frequently be taken out of the match. Without Kadam’s no-look passing wizardry, and with fellow international guard Joginder Singh being ineffective, the weight of scoring fell on India international Narender Grewal. But Grewal’s valiant double double of 29 points and 11 rebounds barely allowed Services to match Tamil Nadu’s scoring runs.
For Tamil Nadu, internationals Amjyot Singh (power forward), Prasanna Venkatesh (small forward) and Akilan Pari (point guard) played as per their reputation. Captain Amjyot Singh led from the front yet again with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Akilan was the source of numerous highlight plays that included a half court buzzer beater at the end of the second quarter. On his part, Venkatesh came good with some timely three pointers. The scores were tied at 60 each at the end of the third quarter, but Tamil Nadu went on a 26-13 scoring spree in the last 10 minutes to seal its second straight finals berth.
Chhatttisgarh topple Railways
In a fascinating match between two high quality teams, defending champions Chhattisgarh came out aggressively in the first half to take a double digit lead at halftime. Indian Railways though fought back late in the third quarter thanks to international Rajapriyadarshini leading from the front. Rajapriya was able to repeatedly drive past the much taller Poonam Chaturvedi, Chhattisgarh’s 6ft 9 inch centre who would end the match with 27 pts and 13 rebounds.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Indian Railway took a slender four point lead only to watch it slip away as Chhattisgarh mounted another run of its own to take the match 83-79. Chaturvedi was particularly effective late in the fourth quarter with multiple And 1 plays, and her teammates did well to lob the ball to her deep inside the paint over the outstretched arms of the Railways frontline. This is the second time in two years that Chhattisgarh has toppled powerhouse Railways. Last year it had beaten the Railway women in the finals to end its decade long run as national champions.
Uttarakhand ease into the finals
The first men’s semi-final between Uttarakhand and Haryana threw no surprises as the Uttarakhand men continued their winning ways to advance to the final of the 65th Senior National Basketball Championship 2014-15. The Haryana men exceeded all expectations by reaching the semi-final of the tournament but their amazing run ended today as they punched above their weight against the strong Uttarakhand team. Led by the guard play of current India international Vishesh Bhrighuvanshi and former India captain Riyazuddin, Uttarakhand pulled away after the first quarter with numerous transition buckets. Vishesh put up a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Point guard Riyazuddin had 18 points and found his teammates on timely occasions to end up with 7 assists. Haryana were undersized against the Uttarakhand line-up and were outrebounded 40 to 29 in team rebounds. Uttarakhand’s 7-foot centre Amrit Man was another key factor for his team – he had 16 points and 13 rebounds in the game. Haryana’s main contributor was its point guard Himanshu S. who kept them in the game with his 3-point shooting. He ended up with 19 points. Uttarakhand is now through to the finals to be played tomorrow against the winner of the second men’s semi-final between Tamil Nadu and Services.
Delhi Women beat Kerala
An inspired Delhi side is through to the finals after beating Kerala in the 65th Senior National Basketball Championship 2014-15 that is underway in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. The balanced attack of Delhi saw crisp ball movement and excellent spacing that opened up easy and numerous scoring opportunities for the team from the national capital. Kerala features as many as four international stars in Poojamol KS, Stephy Nixon, Jeena PS and Neenumol, but tonight the stronger team on paper was outdone by the Delhi women. The three ‘Singh Sisters’ of Prashanti Singh, Pratima Singh and Akanksha Singh, along with fellow internationals Raspreet Sidhu and Preeti Kumari kept their composure to maintain a slender single digit lead all the way to the final buzzer. Jeena PS’s double double for Kerala of 18 points and 12 rebounds was in vain.
Women: Delhi (Pratima Singh 17, Raspreet Sidhu 15, Vinti 15) bt Kerala (Jeena PS 18 pts & 12 rbs, Neenumol PS 12) 71-63 [9-11, 17-14, 22-20, 23-18]
Chhattisgarh (Poonam Chaturvedi 27 pts & 13 rbs, Sharanjeet Kaur 16, Sangeeta Kaur 15) bt Indian Railway (R Rajapriyadarshini 35 pts & 16 rbs, Anju Lakra 20) 83-79 [24-13, 22-19, 16-27, 21-20]
Men: Uttarakhand (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 26 pts & 10 rbs, Amritpal Singh 16 pts & 13 rbs, Riyazuddin 18) bt Haryana (Himanshu S 19, D Rathee 15, Hemant S 10) 86-64 [23-18, 26-16, 17-10, 20-20]
Tamil Nadu (Amjyot Singh 29 pts & 13 rbs, A Arvind 22) bt Services (Narender Grewal 29 pts & 11 rbs, Sambhaji Kadam 12) 86-73 [21-19, 19-20, 20-21, 26-13]
5th and 6th places: Women: Maharashtra (Sruthi Menon 30, Krittika Divadkar 22, Mugdha A 12) bt Tamil Nadu (Divya K 13, Keerthi 12, Divya D 11) 82-68 [16-12, 19-13, 25-18, 22-25]
Men: Karnataka (Anil Kumar 18, Dhiraj Shetty 10) bt Kerala (Jomon Jose 15, Ajeeth Sugunan 8) 45-32 [13-11, 7-4, 12-11, 13-6].