TN fight past Uttarakhand

Defending men’s champions Uttarakhand fell short against a stubborn Tamil Nadu in extra time, going down 59-66 in a thrilling league match of the 64th Senior National Basketball Championships at the Thyagaraj Stadium here on Thursday.

Challenged from the start, Uttarakhand trailed by 16 points in the second quarter but staged a sensational comeback to take a 46-41 lead ahead of the final quarter. Tamil Nadu, boosted by the combination of A Aravind and P Akilan and superb play from top scorer Prasanna (21 points), fought back to take a slim 57-53 lead but Uttarakhand, in the last few minutes, produced champion stuff to level the scores at 57-57.

They started the five minutes of extra time with a bang when towering Amritpal Singh sank the two free throws to give his side 59-57 lead. However, Tamil Nadu, playing their opening match, soon caught up with Pratham Singh putting it beyond the defending champions reach by netting two free throws and following it with a three-pointer in the final stage.

Fatigue, too, played a part for Uttarakhand, who in absence of five of their players this season, had to field their best hoopsters through the entire duration. “I have no complaints from my boys. They played above my expectations. We are looking forward to play our next match against Delhi tomorrow. We are still upbeat about defending our title,” said Uttarakhand coach Vinod Vachani.

Earlier, Karnataka men recorded their second straight win in the tournament by demolishing Puducherry 79-30. Karnataka coach Vijendra Devadasen was glad he got the opportunity to field all his players and hoped they could regain their place in elite groups.

In the women’s competition, Maharashtra shrugged off their landslide 20-63 opening match defeat against Tamil Nadu to post their first victory in the tournament. They beat Punjab 71-61 with Kritika Devadkar top scoring with 26 points followed by B Sangeetha who scored 16 with one three-pointer.  Uttarakand, led well by Jyoti (22), narrowly defeated Assam 53-50.

Himachal Pradesh crushed Jammu and Kashmir 54-12 in a lop-sided contest. Uttar Pradesh handed a similar treatment to Jharkhand by sweeping them aside 62-23.

Results: Men: Karnataka 79(Anbu Kumar R 14, Arvind A 11, Rajesh P Uppar 10) bt Puducherry 30(Joseph 7,Sundarava Davel5); Punjab 92 (Gurvinderdeep Singh 29, Gurkirpal Singh 23, Amritpal Singh 22) bt Rajasthan 78 (Jaynesh Patel 22, Danveer Singh 14, Kamran Khan 12); Gujarat 94 (Dishant Shah 25, Nachiket P. Nayak 17, Gohip Indravijay 15) bt Mizoram 49 (Henryl Ramneahawma 13, L Laldinsanea 8); Haryana 80(Hemant 18, Balraj 14, Vishal 10) bt Himachal Pradesh 48 (Anoop 13, Sanjeev 12, Vainder 12); Jammu & Kashmir 76 (Ranbir 27, Iqbal 19, Shubam 11) bt Chandigarh 60 (P Kumar 21, Surendar 20).

Women: Uttarakhand 53 (Jyoti 22, Bhawna 17, Vaishali 6) bt Assam 50 (Ramandeep K Rait 16, Salima Begum 14, Smitali Saikia 9); Maharashtra 72 (Krititka 27, B Sangeeta 15, Shireen 11, Kenny Susan 10) bt Punjab 61 (Nagma Mirza 15, Nirmal Kaur 15, Kiranjit Kuar 12); Puducherry 65 (E Sarasu 27, M Manjula 16) bt Bihar  58(G Satya Sarawat 32, Arti Singh 18); Himachal Pradesh  54 (Baljinder 18, Manisha 9) bt Jammu & Kashmir: 12 (Radhika 2, Prathiba 2); Uttar Pradesh  62 (Preet 19, Niharika 15, Sunidhi 8) bt Jharkhand 23 (Jacklin 17); Chhattisgarh 76 (Bharti Netam 15, Kavita 14, Seema Singh 13, Poonam Chaturvedi 11) bt Madhya Pradesh 35 (Sakshi Pandey 14, Neha Patel 8).

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