Railways edge past Kerala, make quarters

Geethu shines for champs; Maharashtra progress

Favourites Indian Railways were given a fright by Kerala before eking out a 67-64 victory in a women’s Group A match of the 64th National Basketball Championship at Thyagaraj Stadium on Saturday.

The victory was defending champions’ third successive in the tournament and put them in the last eight stage. It, however, proved to be a narrow escape.
Kerala competed with vigour and their defence foiled several good moves. Though Railways managed to finish the first quarter with a slender 18-16 lead, it was Kerala who were up 33-32 at half-time.

With their best player Geethu Anna Jose, heavily marked, Railways employed several substitutions but found a resilient Kerala constantly snapping at their heels.
The champions, however, managed to pull off a five-point lead, at 49-44, in the third quarter to set up an exciting final period.

In the decider, Kerala mounted an impressive comeback to level scores at 58. It was a close fight before Geethu widened the gap to 65-61 with a two pointer and one free throw.

Anju Lakra then sank the free throws to put Railways ahead 67-62. Kerala, fighting till the last, added two more points but could not overhaul the defending champions. Geethu top scored with 25 points or Railways.

Railways now play Karnataka, who registered their maiden win in the tournament after two losses. Karnataka girls beat West Bengal 75-67 in another Group A match.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra topped the Group B by defeating Chhattisgarh 60-56. Shireen Limaye (20) and Sona Saji (10) were the key scorers for Maharashtra.

In a men’s match, Indian Railways beat Chhattisgarh 80-58 in Group A. Hirendra S Rathare scored 22 points and Arjun Singh 18.

Ajay Pratap Singh scored 14, Sameer Rai 13 and Karan Pal Singh finished with 12 for Chhattisgarh.

Tamil Nadu continued their winning streak and entered the quarterfinals with a 78-47 defeat over Delhi in a Group A contest.  The loss, which was fourth straight one for the home side, put them out of the race.

Karnataka men win

In the men’s qualifying match, Karnataka beat Maharashtra 101-96 to enter the pre-quarterfinals.

Arvind A scored a game high 44 points while Dhiraj and Rajesh Uppar scored two 3-pointers apiece. Karnataka will face Haryana in another qualifying match on Sunday.


Results: Men: Group A: Indian Railways 80 (Hirendra S Rathore 22, Arjun Singh 10, Jaskaran Singh 8) bt Chhattishgarh 58 (Ajay Pratap Singh 14, Sameer Rai 13, Karan Pal Singh 12); Tamil Nadu 78 (Pratham Singh 20, Rikin Pethani 16, S Prasnna Venkatesh 14) bt Delhi 47 (Vinay Kaushik 13, Pravin Dovan 13, Yatan Sharma 9).
Group B: Rajasthan 87 (Vinod Kumar 22, Jaynesh Patel 18, Kamran Khan 17, Harshvardhan Singh 12, Prashant Singh 10) bt Andhra Pradesh 31 (Nihal Yadav 8, Shaik Bajid Basha 6).

Women: Group A: Karnataka: 75 (Kruthika Lakshman 26, Roshim Rose 14, Sagarika Shyam 14) bt West Bengal 67 (Sukurmoni Oraom 21, Varsha Verma 15, Salma Devi 11); Indian Railways: 67(Geetu Anna Jose 25, S Kokila 8, R Priyadarshni 8, M Pushpa 8) bt Kerala: 64 (Jeena PS 17, Stephy Nixon 14, Neenumol PS 14).

Group B: Maharashtra 60 (Shireen Limaye 20, Susan Kenny 13, Saji Sona 10) bt Chhattisgarh 56 (Seema Singh 22, Deepa L 13); Punjab 79 (Kiranjit Kaur 33, Harjeet Kaur 18, Nirmal Kaur 10) bt Tamil Nadu 59 (Nath Murli 15, Soniya Joy 12); Services: 91 (Nerender Grewal 22, Gopal Ram 14, Dalip Kumar 9, Mandeep Singh 9) bt Kerala: 59 (Abhilas TS 11, Basil Dhili 13, Albin Babay 8)

Qualifying group: Men: Odisha 92 (Ashok 22, Firoj 19, Ashish Ranjan 13, Sashikanta 12) bt Himachal Pradesh 17 (Anoop 23, Deepak 16, Virender 14); Uttar Pradesh 74 (Shyamvir Singh 27, Bobby Singh 14, Rudraksh K.Pandey 10) bt Jharkhand 60 (Allen Pemer 26, Vikash Kumar 10); Haryana 85 (Deepak 24, Hemant 19, Vikas 16, Pradeep 10) bt Madhya Pradesh 54 (Siddarth 19, Kirti Gos 8); Karnataka: 101 (Arvind A 44, Shrinivas Naik 17, Dhiraj 13, Rajesh 12) bt Maharashtra 96 (AK Gahlot 33, Siddham Shinde 30, Karthik Counder 18). 

Women: Odisha: 70 (Rajshree Swain 23, Urbashi 14) bt Jammu & Kashmir 29 (Radhika 6); Himachal Pradesh 67 (Baljeeder Kaur 30, Alaka 11) bt Chandigarh 25 (Yogita 8, Karamjeet Kaur 5) Andhra Pradesh 88 (Jilna Jose 29, M Gayathri 22, N Sneha 15) bt Pondicherry 37 (Manjula M 21, Shanthi L 5); Uttar Pradesh 93 (Preeti Kumari 42, Radha Gour 18, Niharika Verma 18, Sakshi Sharma 11) bt Rajasthan 71 (Nisha Sharma 19, Manisha Meena 14, Anita Meena 14).

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