‘Elevate Sports’ Daily Wrap
Trivandrum women dethrone Palakkad
Riding on international Jeena PS’s 37 points, Trivandrum (featuring Kerala State Electricity Board players) avenged last year’s final loss with a hard fought 71-54 victory over defending champions Palakkad (comprising players from the Kerala Police). Most of Trivandrum’s initial scoring came in transition and semi-transition situations and at the end of the first quarter, it held a slender one point lead. In Q2, Palakkad managed to make the most of its crisp ball movement and converted its jump shots through Neenumol PS.
In the first half, Trivandrum’s 6ft 2 inch international Centre Stephy Nixon was ineffective on offense, but was a huge presence in stopping Palakkad on the defensive end. However, as she was repeatedly drawn out to guard the corner shooter, Palakkad managed to grab a lot of offensive rebounds on the weakside.
A buzzer beater by Palakkad at the end of the second quarter marked the beginning of a momentum shift in its favour. It then opened the third period with back to back threes to take the lead for the first time in the match (30-25). After dictating the first 15 mins of the game, Trivandrum was now at the receiving end. It didn’t seem to be getting any calls in its favour, and with the partisan crowd rooting for Palakkad, Trivandrum began losing its composure.
The physicality of these two teams could be gauged by the fact that they were both over the team foul limit with more than four minutes left in the third quarter. Late in Q3, Stephy Nixon became the aggressor with four straight unanswered points, her teammates doing excellently to feed her the ball deep inside the paint. Palakkad was still leading at this point (34-32), but the momentum had noticeably started shifting back towards Trivandrum.
Forward Jeena PS, who had been consistently scoring since the first quarter now took over from Stephy. At the end of the third quarter the scores read 43-38 in favour of Trivandrum. Q4 began with Jeena getting yet another offensive putback. Palakkad’s fight was now well and truly over. Palakkad’s performance reflected the story of the tournament so far: that teams are evenly matched for three quarters, only for one of them to lose steam in the final ten minutes.
Ernakulam men defend title
What many hoped would be a fitting finale to the 58th Kerala Senior State Basketball Championships turned out to be a thoroughly lopsided affair. Defending Champion Ernakulam dominated from the opening tip. It was obvious that Trivadrum (containing players from Kerala State Electricity Board and BSNL) wasn’t ready for the high intensity basketball that Ernakulam was bringing to the floor. Inside and outside, Ernakulam was firing on all cylinders and the score at the end of the first quarter read a whopping 30-9 in its favour.
Ernakulam’s Bony Mathew did wonderfully on the defensive glass and he was complemented on the offensive end by veteran Monish Wilson and point guard Nikhil AR’s peerless long range shooting. The crowd was lulled into silence by this one sided battle. Trivandrum lacked creativity on offence, which seemed to be a spillover from yesterday’s semifinal match against Kottayam. Trivandrum’s former international guard Vijobi Vakkachan had no choice but to force outside shots for the entire first half.
It is said that defense wins championships. This statement needs to be modified just a little bit to “Ernakulam’s team defense wins them State Championships”. At half time the score read 46-21 in Ernakulam’s favour. In the second half, to add insult to injury, Ernakulam’s bench led by Shinumon Augustin also started contributing heavily to their team’s scoring. Trivandrum could be seen hanging their heads with 4:16 left for the final whistle. Veteran former international Subhash Shenoy then came on to add finishing touches with some effortless post moves and freethrows to seal his team’s commanding 89-48 victory. Abhilash TS topscored for the winners with 27 points. This win has established the gulf between Ernakulam (composed of many of Central Excise & Customs, Kochi players) and the remaining teams in Kerala.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Thrissur Basketball Club won the veteran men’s championship beating Kottayam. Former international star point guard CV Sunny scored 14 of Kottayam’s last 16 points, but he couldn’t prevent a 52-43 loss to the home team.
Final Results Day 6 (Sunday, December 08, 2013) brought to you by ‘The Furtado Initiative’
Thiruvanthapuram 71 (Jeena PS 37, Stephy Nixon 14) bt Palakkad 54 (Neenumol PS 18, Lijimol Mol 17, Surya P R 10) [QT Wise Scores: 9-8, 25-22, 43-38, 71-54]
Eranakulum 89 (Abhilash TS 27, Monish Wilson 20, Basil Philip15) bt Thiruvanthapuram 48 (Vijobi Vakkachan 19)
Kannur 68 (Premi P Lal 32, Anju Pavithran12) bt Kottayam 63 (Poojamol KS 19, Minnu Mariam Joy 17)
Pathanamthitta 86 (Nicewin M 28, Edwin Irwin 19, Akhil AR 14, Anjith AR 11) bt Kottayam 78 (Akhil Mathew Sunny 30, Sreerag N Nair 14)