KOCHI, JUNE 1 : Defending champions Chhattisgarh girls and Delhi boys are pitted again against Kerala and Punjab,, respectively in this year’s finals of the 65th National Basketball Championship for Junior Men and Women 2014.
Earlier, Chhattisgarh cruised past an under strength Uttar Pradesh side 105-53. Uttar Pradesh’s star point guard Preeti Kumari, who was also part of the senior Indian women’s team at the Lusofonia International Games in Goa earlier this year, had injured her leg late in the league stages.
In today’s crucial semifinal game, Preeti could only hobble around the court for 14:00 mins to score just 3 points in total. In her absence, the bulk of the scoring load fell on fellow point guard Barkha Sonkar who managed 27 points in the loss. For Chhattisgarh, it was another impressive runaway win, with internationals Kavita Akula, Sangeeta and Sharanjeet Kaur running the break to perfection. Chhattisgarh also connected nine times from beyond the threepoint line and finally won by a whopping 52 point margin.
Hosts Kerala junior women won today despite the absence of international forward Poojamol KS who is out with a suspected fracture to her leg. In Poojamol’s absence Kerala beat Punjab 64-53 through the key scoring contribution of its other international Elizabeth Hilarious’s 23 points.
What stood out was Kerala’s defensive intensity that restricted Punjab to just 9 points in the third quarter. Kerala’s size advantage meant that it also thoroughly outrebounded Punjab (66 to 32). A much more formidable task lies ahead as Kerala takes on defending champions Chhattisgarh girls in the finals tomorrow.
Delhi junior men showed a lot of discipline in maintaining a slender single digit lead from almost start to finish to beat Maharashtra 91-79. The valiant Maharashtra side had overcome a visible height disadvantage throughout this tournament through some excellent player and ball movement. Additionally, on the defensive end, it had been getting a lot of steals on the back of its tireless pressing defence.
In today’s semifinals, Delhi’s international point guard Narender and Hemant Hooda kept possession wonderfully to deny Maharashtra the perimeter advantage. After the scores were tied 22 apiece at the end of the first quarter, Delhi consistently led at the end of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th period to take Delhi back to the finals for the second straight year.
In the last semifinal of the evening, Punjab exacted revenge for an earlier league match loss against Tamil Nadu with an aggressive performance today. Punjab captain and centre Gurvinder Singh Gill, who has represented India at the junior level internationally, led from the front and put his body on the line. Gill scored 31 points in the paint, most from brute force after backing down his defender. He was ably assisted by his tall teammates on the boards. Tellingly, Punjab scored 42 points in the paint against 22 for TN to finally win by a wide margin of 26 points.
Results (semi-finals): Men: Delhi (Hemant Hooda 24, Sunil 20) bt Maharashtra (Ashraf Siddique 18, Parab Harshal 17) 91-79 [22-22; 25-19; 23-22; 21-16].
Punjab (Gurvinder Singh Gill 31, Arshpreet Singh 18) bt Tamil Nadu (G Sivaram 13, Jedidiah Gabrial 13) 85-59 [28-15; 23-16; 27-17; 7-11].
Women: Chhattisgarh (Sangeeta Kaur 32, Sharanjeet Kaur 29) bt Uttar Pradesh (Barkha Sonkar 27) 105-53 [29-16; 23-18; 28-17; 25-12].
Kerala (Elizabeth Hilarious 23, Arathi Vimal 16) bt Punjab (Gagandeep Kaur 28, Samriti 14) 64-53 [15-12; 14-17; 23-9; 12-15].
Classification matches for 5th & 6th places: Men: Madhya Pradesh (Laxman Thapa 36, Bhrigendrapratap Singh 17) bt Kerala 71-64 [20-22; 23-14; 16-19; 12-9]
Women: Karnataka (Supritha 28, Lopamudra 20) bt Maharashtra (Sruthi Menon 30, Ishwari Pingle 16) 78-60 [17-16; 21-12; 20-18; 20-14].
Classification matches for 7th & 8th places: Men: Haryana (Jasbir 29, Pradeep 17) bt Rajasthan (A Chopra 13, Ali M 12) 86-70 [22-18; 28-17; 23-16; 13-19].
Women: Haryana (Suman Pannu 24, Bharti Sihag 16) bt Delhi (Soumya Babbar 15, Nishita Sabharwal 12) 79-53 [22-4; 23-19; 21-9; 13-19].
Classification matches for 9th & 10th places: Men: Karnataka (Sowkin Shetty 22, Pranay Naidu 21) bt Andhra Pradesh (Jagapati 22, Harsha 14) 106-75 [26-17; 20-16; 23-24; 37-18].
Women: Madhya Pradesh (Princy Singh 10, Sakshi Pandey 15) bt West Bengal (Rashmi Das 11, Pratyusha 8) 60-38 [28-7; 14-10; 6-13; 12-8].
Classification matches for 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th places (First Round of Matches)
Men: Madhya Pradesh (Bhrigendra P 33, Laxman Thapa 22) bt Rajasthan (Mohammed Ali 25, Abhimanyu S 17) 85-79 [21-19; 20-19; 31-22; 13-19].
Kerala (Amal Anto 35, Antony Johnson 13) bt Haryana (Jasbir 15, Pradeep 13) 89-63 [21-22; 16-18; 30-12; 22-11]
Women: Karnataka (Lopamudra 20, Bhandavya 17) bt Haryana (Bharti 26, Suman 16) 76-65 [19-13; 11-13; 18-19; 28-20].
Maharashtra (Sruthi 10, Maithili 10) bt Delhi (Nishita 15, Soumya B 8) 62-37 [18-11; 13-6; 13-5; 18-15].
Loser’s knockout finals (Tournament for lower level teams (i.e. level 2) who failed to qualify to the knockout stages of the main competition)
Men: Uttar Pradesh (Abhishek 33, Abhinav Singh 14) bt Chandigarh (Gurpreet Singh 20, Nayeen 10) 86-63 [23-8; 18-12; 21-21; 24-22].