Dominant Tamil Nadu crowned champions

Dominant Tamil Nadu crowned champions

Chhattisgarh claim maiden women's title

Dominant Tamil Nadu crowned champions

Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh claimed the men’s and women’s titles of the 64th Basketball National Championships at the Thyagaraj Stadium on Wednesday.

 It was the maiden title for the Chhattisgarh girls who turned the tables in the fourth quarter to conjure an 81-77 shock win over favourites Indian Railways. The nail-biting finale also ended the 10- consecutive title run of the Railways women. Tamil Nadu were off to a slow start, trailing 18-22 in the first period, but quickly gained control in the subsequent quarters to cruise to a 74-57 victory. Their last title came in 2004 Cuttack Nationals. 

The women’s final made a befitting start to an action-packed evening. Chhattisgarh grabbed the first five points before Railways asserted their class. Railways were pegged back with their key player and centre Geethu Anna Jose having an off day and missing a lot of baskets. But sharp-shooter Anju Lakra (seven three-pointers) launched herself on a three-pointer netting spree to enable the defending champions open up a 45-38 lead at half time despite a formidable fight from Chhattisgarh.

Far from being dispirited, Chhattisgarh girls only raised their tempo in the third quarter. They scythed through the Railways defence with their shooting guard Kavita Kumari and experienced Seema Singh leading the charge. At the end of the third quarter, Chhattisgarh were behind by merely four points, at 64-60. With 7:40 minutes remaining in the match, a three-pointer from Saranjeet Kaur provided Chhattisgarh the lead for the first time and they widened the gap to 64-72 following another couple of three-pointers, this time from L Deepa.

A desperate Railways side, who had led in the first three quarters, did their best to close in but Chhattisgarh, so near to victory, didn’t concede an inch.   
Kavita scored 25 points (one 3-pointer and 13 rebounds) while Saranjeet Kaur racked up 20 points. For Railways, Anju Lakra (23) and Geethu Anna Jose (17) were the top scorers.

In the men’s final, Punjab, fresh from knocking out Uttarakhand in the semis, started from where they had left and overshadowed Tamil Nadu in the first quarter with their spirited defense and shooting. But the southern side guided by Pratham Singh (18 points) and Rikin Pethani (22) alongwith P Akilan, doing a good job as a playmaker, shot back to go up 37-30 at half time.

Tamil Nadu were simply unstoppable in the remaining two quarters while errors began to creep in from Punjab players. The final buzzer sparked wild celebrations from the Tamil Nadu cagers, who shook legs on bhangra besides cutting the net on both ends to keep it as a souvenir.

The winners will take home Rs 150,000 while the first and second runners-up will receive Rs 1,00,000 and Rs 50,000.

Rikin Pethani of Tamil Nadu and Kavita Kumari of Chhattisgarh were awarded the Harish Sharma Most Valuable Player Award.

Finals: Men: Tamil Nadu: 74 (Rikin Pethani 22, Pratham Singh 18, S.Prasanna 15, Revi Vineeth 11) bt Punjab: 57 (Palpreet Singh 19, Gurukripal Singh 12, Amritpal Singh 11). Women: Chhattisgarh: 81 (Kavita 25, Saranjeet Kaur 20, Bharti Netam 16, Deepa L 11) bt Indian Railways: 77 (Anju Lakra 23, Geethu Anna Jose 17, Pushpa M 11, Raja Priyadharshani 11).

For 3rd & 4th place: Men: Services: 82 (Gopal Ram 16, Narender Singh 13, Jai Ram 12, Manu Thomas 12, Vivekananda Das 8) bt Uttarakhand: 54 (Yadwinder Singh 15, Amritpal Singh 13, Dinesh Kumar 11).

Women: Delhi: 79 (Prashanti Singh 22, Akansha Singh 15, Raspreet Sidhu 13, Pratima Singh 13, Sonia Ohliyan 10) bt Maharashtra: 66 (Shireen Limaye 22, Krittika Divadkar 18, B.Sangeeta 10, Sona Saji 10).

For 5th & 6th place: Men: Indian Railways: 74 (Prakesh Mishra 27, Vikram Parmar 16, Arjun Singh 10) bt Kerala: 59 (Nikhil KR 15, Basil Philip 15, Jijo Thankachan 14).
Women: Punjab: 72 (Naima 27, Nirmal 14) bt Karnataka: 47 (Roshni 12, Kavita 7, Sagarika 6).

For 7th & 8th place: Men: Karnataka: 90 (Sanjay 26, Vishnu 20, Garish 10) bt Haryana: 74 (Balraj 12, Vikang 11, Vinay 11) 90-74.

Women: Punjab: 72 (Naima 27, Nirmal 14) bt Karnataka: 47 (Roshni 12, Kavita 7, Sagarika 6).

For 9th & 10th Place: Men: Chhattishgarh: 75 (Kiranpal Singh 22, Sameer Rai 17, Rajesh 12, Manoj Singh 11) bt Rajasthan: 62 (Karman Khan 19, Prashant Singh 16, Sharad Dadhich 13). Women: Andhra Pradesh: 60 (Jincy Jose 19, M.Gayathri 14, PU Madhulatha 13) bt Uttar Pradesh: 25 (Radha Gour 13, Niharika Vertia 7).