In a dramatic, high scoring final, Bhilai Steel Plant, Chhattisgarh weathered South Central Railway, Secunderabad’s counter attacks to emerge deserving winners of the inaugural basketball tournament being held as part of the 2nd All India Dusera Invitational Sports Championship, Mysore. As winners, Bhilai Steel Plant will now be awarded a cash prize of Rs 2,00,000/- and runners up South Central Railway will take home Rs 1,50,000/-.
Both teams showcased high quality offensive performances that regaled the crowd. Bhilai’s 6ft 10 inch Centre Poonam Chaturvedi topscored yet again with 54 points. South Central answered with some excellent long range shooting by guards Manda Meshram and Gayathri, who scored 27 points each.
The Poonam Effect
Poonam has been unstoppable in this tournament. In the finals, South Central Railway’s four tallest players, Jilna Jose (5), Jincy Joseph (7), Anusha Anto (9) and team captain Neetu (15) were fouled out trying to guard Poonam. Up until the final four minutes of the fourth quarter, South Central Railway had come within three points of Bhilai Steel Plant (92-89), which is when their foul trouble proved fatal. With limited bench strength, South Central was left with only the two shortest players Manda and Gayathri on the court to take on five opponents. South Central’s Assistant Coach Anandhi’s attempt to come on as substitute was disallowed by the referees. Bhilai then went on a scoring spree in the final minutes to breach the 100 point mark and win 113-92.
Third-fourth place match
Earlier in the morning, Mysore Division (Kar) featuring many South Western Railway players beat the relatively young and inexperienced team from Rising Star, Chennai to finish third. Mysore Division (Kar) will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 1,00,000/-. Rising Star, Chennai will receive Rs 75,000/- for their fourth place finish.
Bhilai Steel Plant, Chhattisgarh 113 (Poonam Chaturvedi 54, Anjana Ekka 20, Pushpa Nishad 16 ) bt South Central Railway, Secunderabad 92 ( Manda Meshram 27, Gayathri 27 ) HT: 52-42
Third Place match
Mysore Division, Kar 64 ( Reshma 24, Savitha 18 ) bt Rising Star, Chennai 56 (Susanya 11, Diviya 9) HT: 39-32