Punjab knock out defending champs

Punjab knock out defending champs

Punjab knock out defending champs

A spirited Punjab shocked defending champions Uttarakhand 80-68 in an intensely contested clash to enter their second straight final of the National Basketball Championships at Thyagaraj Stadium on Tuesday.

Punjab, the 2011 champions, were trailing 46-57 in the third quarter when Gurkripal Singh’s attempted three-pointer was fouled by the Uttarakhand team.

The decision was contested by the Uttarakhand players. Yadwinder Singh and centre Amritpal Singh heckled the referee and sarcastically clapped. 

The referee in turn slapped technical fouls on them which resulted in Punjab earning seven free throws. Gurkripal converted five of them to reduce the 11 point lead to five at the end of the third quarter. To make matters worse for Uttarakhand, the foul was Amritpal’s fifth in the match which prompted his ejection from the match.

In the final quarter, Punjab were quick to overwhelm Uttarakhand, who sorely missed Amritpal. Punjab levelled the score first at 61 and then at 64 before reeling off 13 points to open up a 64-77 lead minutes before the final buzzer.  
Ranbir Singh (with five three-pointers) and Palpreet Singh with 27 points each did the bulk of scoring for Punjab. The two teams were levelled at 24 after the first quarter before some stellar playmaking by Riyaz-Uddin (14 points) and good shooting from Yadwinder (24)and Amritpal (15) stitched a seven-point lead for the defending champions at 45-38 at half time.
Punjab now plays Tamil Nadu, who edged out Services 92-85 in another thrilling men’s semifinal. Tamil Nadu, led by shooting guard Pratham Singh, put out a 55-36 lead at the half-time. Services fought back to reduce the lead to 16 at the end of third quarter and produced their best effort in the fourth quarter by scoring 30 points to raise the excitement.

Tamil Nadu, with good support from the stands, however, edged past in the dying minutes.
Both Punjab and Tamil Nadu have been unbeaten in the tournament.

Pratham top scored with 28 points (four 3-pointers) followed by  S.P.Venkatesh 22 (10 Rebounds), for Tamil Nadu.

Thumping win

In the women’s semifinals, defending champions Indian Railways will be the favourite to win the title after marching into the final with a thumping 100-65 victory over Delhi. Delhi girls, after a rousing start, soon frizzled out with Railways making the tie one-sided. Geethu Anna Jose was the star with 27 points followed by Anju Lakra (19) who shot five three-pointers.
Railways will meet Chhattisgarh who avenged their four-point defeat to Maharashtra in the league stage with a 76-65 victory in the first semifinal. Kavita top scored for Chhattisgarh with 20 points.

Meanwhile, both Karnataka men and women lost their matches and will play the classification matches for 7th-8th place on Wednesday. Karnataka men lost to Indian Railways 73-71, and will face Haryana while Karnataka women lost to Kerala 49-62. They will play Punjab.

DH News Service

Semifinals: Men: Tamil Nadu 92 (Pr­at­ham Singh 28, S P Venkatesh 22, Ri­kin Pethani 14, P Akilan 12) bt Services: 85 (Joginder Singh 18, Jairam 18, Gopal Ram 15, Antony V Nixon 11), Punjab: 80 (Palpreet Singh 27, Ranbir Singh 27, Gurwinder Singh 9) bt Uttarakhand: 68 (Yadwinder Singh 24, Amritpal Singh 15, Riyaz Uddin 14).
Women: Chhattishgarh 75 (Kavita 20, Deepa L16, Seema Singh 14, Poo­nam Chaturvedi 10, Bharati Netam 10) bt Maharashtra 65 (Shireen Lim­aye 20, Krittika Divadkar 15, Kenny Susan Lalu 10), Indian Railways 100 (Geethu Anna Jose 27, Anju Lakra 19, M Pushpa 19, Smruthi Radhakrishan 11, R Priyadarshan 10) bt Delhi 65 (P­r­as­h­anti Singh 17, Manauti Passi 12, Pra­thima Singh 11, Akansha Singh 11).