Services emerge champs

Basketball Senior Nationals : Railways prevail over Kerala to claim title in women's section

Services emerge champs

It took them six years to reach the final at the Senior National Basketball Championships. But on­ce there, a determined Services side ensured that they put their best show to beat reigning champions Uttar­akhand 73-63 to pocket the title here at the Chamundi Vihar stadium on Saturday.

The Services side had last won the Senior National title in 2007. Though they reached the summit tie at the 2010 Nationals in Delhi, they were humbled by Railways for the crown. But on Saturday, there was no looking back for the Services side as they notched up an early lead in the opening quarter and then held on to it till the final buzzer.

Playing an attacking game, the Services were all over their opponents as baskets kept coming with ease. Shooting guard Sethu SM and centre Ashutosh Rai were the prime architects of the Uttarakhand rout. The two dominated the proceedings with their swift passing and accurate shooting abilities.

The duo also ensured that their star forward Narendra Grewal had plenty of supply in the paint as the Indian International didn’t disappoint and earned a total of five assists and 26 points with his one-hand shooting.

Point guard Joginder Singh, who ended the tournament as the most valuable player (MVP), enjoyed another memorable outing on the final day of the tournament. He set up his team-mates at will while sinking in six of his 10 attempts from the arch and maintaining a monstrous 90 percent record from the free throw line. The Indian international scored from six out of his seven attempts.

“We knew what we were up against. Against a team like Uttarakhand, you have no room for errors. We wanted to ensure that we dominated the game from the beginning and the only way to do that was by playing an attacking game. And that’s what we did today,” said an elated Services coach Jora Singh dedicating their title win to the martyrs of the Pathankot terror attacks.

While Services enjoyed a memorable outing in Mysuru -- maintaining an all-win record – Uttarakhand, who played out one of the best matches of the tournament against Tamil Nadu in their semifinal, dished out a sloppy show in the final.

Centre Murali Krishna and shooting guard Yadvinder Singh were once again the prime culprits for the title-holders. While Murali was caught off guard by his marker on many occasions, Yadvinder endured a disappointing day on the attacking half. His shots didn’t find the basket and his passes were searching for a sixth person on the field.

On Friday, though their top performing players Vishesh Brighuvanshi and Trideep Rai rescued Uttarakhand from the jaws of defeat, in the final even their courageous efforts couldn’t salvage the sinking Uttarakahand ship.

Meanwhile in the women’s section, Railways were once again back to their dominant best as the Anitha Pauldurai-led side drubbed Kerala 72-55 for the title. The Rail women were led by their shooting guard Navneetha PU (14 points) and Anitha (16 points) as they outplayed their opponents without much trouble for the title.

Results: Men: Final: Services: 73 (Joginder Singh 26, Narender Grewal 20, Setu SM 10) bt Uttarakhand: 67 (Murali Krishna 24,

Vi­s­hesh Bhrighuvanshi 20, Trideep Rai 11).
Third-place play-off: Tamil Nadu: 82 (Aravind Annadurai 33, Rikin Pethani 18, Prasanna Venkatesh 13) bt Punjab: 68 (Gagandeep Singh 18, TJ Sahi 17, Rajveer Singh 13).

5/6 place: Karnataka: 93 (Anil Kumar 29, Isaac I 12, Karan K 11) bt Railways: 86 (Himanshu Sharma 19, Somvier S 15, Palpreet Singh 11).

7/8 place: Gujarat: 64 (Dishant Shah 16, Dhaval 16) bt Kerala: 58 (Abhijith 15).
Women: Final: Railways: 72 (Anitha Pauldurai 16, Navaneeta 14, Sitamani Tudu 12) bt Kerala: 55 (Stephy Nixon 17, Jeena PS 14, Anjana PG 14).

Third-place play-off: Delhi: 71 (Raspreet Sidhu 21, Pratima Singh 19, Prashanti Singh 16) bt Telangana: 66 (Anusha Anto 24, Jincy Joseph 17, Ramya 10).

5/ 6 place: Chhattisgarh: 83 (Poonam Chaturvedi 44, Bharti 18, Saranjeet Kaur 10) bt Tamil Nadu: 74 (Nishanti Masi 17, Srividhya 16, Shruti 16).

7/ 8 place: West Bengal: 79 (Madhu Kumari 21, Salma S 21, Anjana Dezy 14, Libina 14) bt Punjab: 77 (Samriti S 23, Nirmal Kaur 15, Gagandeep Kaur 12).

Final standings: Men: Services 1; Uttarakhand, 2; Tamil Nadu, 3; Punjab, 4; Karnataka, 5; Railways, 6; Gujarat, 7; Kerala, 8; Haryana, 9; Chhattisgarh, 10. MVP: Joginder Singh. Women: Railways, 1; Kerala, 2; Delhi, 3; Telangana, 4; Chhattisgarh, 5; Tamil Nadu, 6; West Bengal, 7; Punjab, 8; Maharashtra, 9; Rajasthan, 10. MVP: Navaneetha PU.

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