Nepal give tough fight to rusty Indians

Lanka score convincing win over Bangladesh

Nepal give tough fight to rusty Indians

 India’s Dishant Shah (right) vies with Rohit Lama of Nepal for a rebound in the Middle Asia zone FIBA Asia U-18 championship qualifying match on Thursday. DH Photo

Coach Ramkumar’s boys looked rusty for most part of the match and the final score — 80-50 — barely painted the whole picture.

India started with a two-back, three-front zone defence formation to counter the short-statured Nepal team’s shooting guard-oriented offence. India’s ploy worked as they denied Nepal’s fowards from making early inroads, but the drawback was in their inability to convert off the turnovers.

A number of lay-ups went off the mark, shots fell short of the rim and fast-breaks were unimpressive. Despite their obvious disadvantage in height, Nepal snatched offensive and defensive rebounds like they had no opponents to contest against and, unlike the Indian cagers, they converted them comfortably to take a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Sushil Gurung  and Sujan Pun spearheaded the Nepal surge.

However, with the entry of point guard Berdinent Carmel Joseph in the second quarter, India looked more composed, even though Nepal continued to dominate possession.

Berdinent, minutes after walking in, made a timely jump shot from the perimeter to help India tie the score at 13-13 and then moved on top of the ‘D’ to dictate the flow of things. Burly centre Amjyot Singh, who had remained dormant for most part, got into his groove and notched up a couple of baskets as India went into the half-time break with a 48-26 lead.

Shooting guards Dishant Singh (13) and Shahdab Khan (14), who were unused in the first two quarters, were called off the bench in the third quarter and their no-nonsense long range shooting helped India take a 67-37 lead. Nepal showed a lot of grit and commitment but their shots just wouldn’t go in in the final quarter. The Indian boys were too well oiled by then to let their advantage slip.

In second match, Sri Lanka scored a thumping 80-51 win over Bangladesh. India take on Bangladesh and Sri Lanka face Nepal on Friday.

Results: India: 80 (Amjyot Singh 18, Dishant Shah 13, Shahbad Khan 14) bt Nepal: 50 (Sushil Gurang 13, Sujan Pun 13). HT: 48-26. Sri Lanka: 80 (Clinton Stallone 21, Kanishka Perera 16) bt Bangladesh: 51 (Md Shamsuzzaman Khan 11, Md Mahmudul Hasan 10). HT: 47-26.

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