MYSURU, JAN 15 : Indian Railways maintained their unbeaten record after beating Telangana by 78-50 (22-19, 15-14, 28-10, 13-7) in the women’s semi-final match in the 66th Senior National Basketball Chmpionship here today.
The first half was tight with only four points separating the teams. For Telangana, it was starter Divya P. (21 points) who was scoring the bulk of her team’s points. On the other hand, the Railways had contributions from multiple players. Telangana relied too much on their starters with little contribution from their bench leading to rising fatigue levels of their main players in the second half.
The Railways rotated their players nicely, and their bench stepped up to the occasion scoring 23 points in the contest. Railways also took advantage of their size on the inside, outrebounding Telangana 56 to 39, leading to 20 second chance points.
Veteran point guard Anitha Paul-Durai led the Railways team with 20 points as they blew the match wide open to finish with a 78-50 victory. They will play the winner of the Kerala v. Delhi game tomorrow in the final.
The first men’s semifinal was a clash between last year’s finalists, Tamil Nadu and defending champions Uttarakhand. Tamil Nadu were yet to lose a game entering this match, while Uttarakhand had dropped one of their group games to Punjab.
There was little to separate the two teams in the first half with Tamil Nadu holding just a slim lead over Uttarakhand. Vishesh Bhrighuvanshi (21 points) led the charge for Uttarakhand with his ability to drive to the rim. India forward Yadwinder (21 points) also contributed with nifty moves in the post.
For Tamil Nadu, it was Rikin Pethani (20 points) who provided the major scoring contribution with Pratham Singh (15 points) and Prasanna Venkatesh (11 points) putting in timely buckets. In the third quarter, Tamil Nadu brought on their 6th man Siva Balan, who immediately had an offensive impact, helping balloon his team’s lead to double digits. Tamil Nadu held a 20-point lead at one point in the fourth quarter, but this was when Uttarakhand showed their championship pedigree and started their miraculous comeback.
Down by 18 with 5 minutes left in the game, veteran Uttarakhand point guard Riyazuddin banked in back-to-back 3 pointers. This was followed by two 3 pointers by veteran shooting guard Trideep Rai to bring the lead down to 2. Tamil Nadu was plagued by critical turnovers and missed freethrows in the final minutes as they failed to put up any points during Uttarakhand’s comeback.
With less than 30 seconds to go in the game, Uttarakhand centre Murali Krishna tied the game with a layup on a good set up by Riyazuddin. With 14 seconds left, Tamil Nadu had the chance for a game winning bucket, but a steal by Uttarakhand on a poor inbounds pass led to a layup by Bhrighuvanshi on the other end. Down by 2 points, Tamil Nadu’s final attempt by Akilan Akil went awry and Uttarakhand clinched a 71-69 victory to advance to the final.
Results (semi-finals): Women:
Indian Railways (Anitha Paul-Durai 20, Sitamani Tudu 13, Rajapriyadarshini 12) bt Telangana (Divya P. 21, Ramya 10) 78-50 (22-19, 15-14, 28-10, 13-7)
Men: Uttarakhand (Vishesh Bhrighuvanshi 21, Yadwinder Singh 21, Murali Krishna 11) bt Tamil Nadu (Rikin Pethani 20, Pratham Singh 15, Prasanna Venkatesh 11) 71-69 (16-18, 17-20, 14-19, 24-12)
5th to 8th place classification matches:
Women: Tamil Nadu (CL Rini 20, Srividhya 17, Prithi 14) bt West Bengal (Anjana Dezy 29, Libina 26, Madhu Kumari 14) 83-76 (21-13, 22-24, 22-21, 18-18).
Chhattisgarh (Poonam Chaturvedi 34, Bharti 19) bt Punjab (Nirmal 29, Kirandeep 20, Indu Kumari 14) 79-75 (13-19, 14-24, 26-19, 26-13).
Men: . Karnataka (Anil Kumar 20, Isaac I. 10) bt Kerala (Jishnu Nair 12, Robin 11) 72-50 (22-15, 15-8, 15-10, 10-17). Indian Railways (Somvier S. 24, Ajay Pratap Singh 18, Gaurav Ohlan 13) bt Gujarat (Kasi Rajan 29, Vinay Kaushik 21, Harpal 13) 87-76 (23-24, 26-12, 15-24, 23-16)
For 9th and 10th place: Women: Maharashtra (Kasturi More 11, Sangeeta Mandal 11) bt Rajasthan (Nisha Sharma 23) 61-44 (30-10, 5-12, 11-9, 15-13).
Men: Haryana (Amit 15, Ravi 12, Vijender 11) bt Chhattisgarh (Dinesh Mishra 10, Palash P. 10) 66-48 (17-9, 21-10, 11-19, 17-20).