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FINAL – Women: Kerala v. Indian Railways; Men: Uttarakhand v. Services
Mysuru, 15th January 2016: Semifinals action began today afternoon on the penultimate day of the 66th Senior National Basketball Championship underway in Mysuru. The four best teams left in the tournament in each of the men’s and women’s section were set to take on each other for a spot in the finals tomorrow.
Kerala women steamroll Delhi
Clean strip by Delhi's defence
The unconquered Kerala women’s side entered their semifinal match against Delhi today in a rematch of last year’s semifinal. Delhi came out on top in the last senior nationals and Kerala were eager to go one better this year. Their intensity was evident right from the start as Kerala came out of the gates firing on all cylinders. Jeena Scaria, India’s best player at the 2015 Asian Basketball Championship, was unstoppable today on her way to a cool 30 points. Kerala established an early lead in the game and never looked back. Delhi was completely dominated on the boards by Kerala, who put in 21 second-chance points through their significant rebounding advantage. Jeena and Stephy worked their post game for Kerala with their team scoring 22 points in the paint. Both had double-digit rebounding numbers, with Stephy single-handedly pulling down 19 rebounds. Delhi’s Pratima Singh fought valiantly putting up 21 points in the contest and her teammate Raspreet Sidhu managed 15 points. But no other Delhi player scored more than 5 points, leading to a blowout victory for Kerala. Kerala will battle the Indian Railways team tomorrow for the gold medal.
Services topple Punjab in thriller
Narender Singh with the acrobatic shots
Punjab and Services faced each other for the first time in the tournament today in their men’s semifinal. Punjab was yet to taste defeat in the tournament and were looking to continue their resurgent run all the way to the final. But Services had other plans as they began the game with well, led by their point guard Joginder Singh. Establishing an early lead in the contest, Services were the better team in the first half. The Services big men, Ashutosh Rai and Setu SM crashed the boards for their team, giving Services a big rebounding advantage (60 to 40). Punjab centre Gagandeep Singh had a below par outing with only 11 points and 9 rebounds. Gurvinder Gill put up a double-double for Punjab with 16 points and 11 rebounds, including a spectacular alley-oop dunk. After a 9-point lead at the end of the first half, Punjab fought back in the third quarter regaining the lead at the end of the third. But the last period completely belonged to Services as they outscored Punjab 30 to 11. Jayram Jat was the main contributor for services with 20 points. Joginder Singh had an all-round game with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Services have set up a title clash with Uttarakhand to be played tomorrow.
Indian Railways cruise to win over Telangana
Floater shot by Telangana against Indian Railways
The first semifinal of the day was between the women’s teams of the Indian Railways and Telangana. Railways have been undefeated in the tournament thus far, while Telangana had dropped just one game to Kerala. The first half was tight with only 4 points separating the teams. For Telangana, it was starter Divya P. (21 points) who was scoring the bulk of her team’s points. On the other hand, the Railways had contributions from multiple players. Telangana relied too much on their starters with little contribution from their bench leading to rising fatigue levels of their main players in the second half. The Railways rotated their players nicely, and their bench stepped up to the occasion scoring 23 points in the contest. Railways also took advantage of their size on the inside, outrebounding Telangana 56 to 39, leading to 20 second chance points. Veteran point guard Anitha Paul-Durai led the Railways team with 20 points as they blew the match wide open to finish with a 78-50 victory. They will play the winner of the Kerala v. Delhi game tomorrow in the final.
Uttarakhand triumph over Tamil Nadu with miraculous comeback
Siva Balan with a one handed finish
The well know three giants of India Rikin and Aravind from Tamil Nadu guarding Murali of Uttarakhand
The first men’s semifinal was a clash between last year’s finalists, Tamil Nadu and defending champions Uttarakhand. Tamil Nadu were yet to lose a game entering this match, while Uttarakhand had dropped one of their group games to Punjab. There was little to separate the two teams in the first half with Tamil Nadu holding just a slim lead over Uttarakhand. Vishesh Bhrighuvanshi (21 points) led the charge for Uttarakhand with his ability to drive to the rim. India forward Yadwinder (21 points) also contributed with nifty moves in the post. For Tamil Nadu, it was Rikin Pethani (20 points) who provided the major scoring contribution with Pratham Singh (15 points) and Prasanna Venkatesh (11 points) putting in timely buckets. In the third quarter, Tamil Nadu brought on their 6th man Siva Balan, who immediately had an offensive impact, helping balloon his team’s lead to double digits. Tamil Nadu held a 20-point lead at one point in the fourth quarter, but this was when Uttarakhand showed their championship pedigree and started their miraculous comeback. Down by 18 with 5 minutes left in the game, veteran Uttarakhand point guard Riyazuddin banked in back-to-back 3 pointers. This was followed by two 3 pointers by veteran shooting guard Trideep Rai to bring the lead down to 2. Tamil Nadu was plagued by critical turnovers and missed freethrows in the final minutes as they failed to put up any points during Uttarakhand’s comeback. With less than 30 seconds to go in the game, Uttarakhand centre Murali Krishna tied the game with a layup on a good set up by Riyazuddin. With 14 seconds left, Tamil Nadu had the chance for a game winning bucket, but a steal by Uttarakhand on a poor inbounds pass led to a layup by Bhrighuvanshi on the other end. Down by 2 points, Tamil Nadu’s final attempt by Akilan Akil went awry and Uttarakhand clinched a 71-69 victory to advance to the final.
Indian Railways v. Kerala
Services v. Uttarakhand
Results from Day 7 up to 6:30 pm
5th to 8th place classification matches:
For 9th and 10th place
Loser Knockout Final
About the 66th Senior National Basketball Championship
The 66th Senior National Basketball Championship is being organised in Mysuru, Karnataka by the Karnataka State Basketball Association (KSBBA). The tournament is being held at the Chamundi Vihar Stadium from 9 to 16 January 2016. The Punjab Basketball Association is the organising body for the tournament under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India. Matches are being held simultaneously on two indoor (at the Chamundi Vihar Stadium) and two outdoor (at Mysuru University) courts.
Last year’s Senior National Championship was held in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, with Uttarakhand men and Chhattisgarh women crowned champions This year’s tournament is witnessing a high participation of 29 men’s teams and 25 women’s teams. The last time a senior national level basketball championship was held in Mysuru was the 39th edition way back in 1987.
About Basketball Federation of India
The Basketball Federation of India or BFI is the governing and controlling body of basketball in India, and is responsible for the development and promotion of the sport at all levels. BFI has been involved in conducting camps, clinics, events, and training sessions at its academies for the development of basketball. BFI came into being in 1935 and took complete control over Indian basketball in 1950. Prior to that time, the Indian Olympic Association handled the conduct of Indian basketball championships. Since 1950, the BFI has been conducting various such championships, from the grassroots to senior team participation in international tournaments. In addition, the BFI has been responsible for the establishment of strong sub-junior and junior level programs. The BFI has to its credit produced several international players of repute, among them 17 have been bestowed with the honour of Arjuna Awards. Earlier in June 2015, 19-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara made history by becoming the first Indian national to be drafted by an NBA team, when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks. More information atwww.basketballfederationindia.org