Chandigarh, 14th October 2014: The 31st Youth National Basketball Championship concluded in electrifying fashion with the Tamil Nadu teams winning top honours today in Chandigarh.
The girls final was a rematch of last year’s final with the same teams, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, competing for gold. Both teams showcased some high quality basketball today. The Kerala girls got off to a quick start and were up 10-0 halfway through the first quarter. Tamil Nadu did manage to cut down the gap, but Kerala maintained their lead through the second and third quarters and entered the fourth quarter up 51-45. The fourth quarter, however, belonged to Tamil Nadu as they outscored the Kerala girls 19-8 and won the game 64-59. Tamil Nadu’s Ishwarya J. had a huge double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds and was adjudged the Most Valuable Player in the girls category.
The boys final was a game for the ages, going into overtime for the final result. The Tamil Nadu boys got off to a scorching start and were up 33-18 at half time. However, the Kerala boys entered the second half all fired up and outplayed Tamil Nadu on both the defensive and offensive end. Kerala outscored Tamil Nadu 23-6 in the third quarter and had a 2-point lead going into the fourth. The game went back and forth in the fourth quarter and Kerala was up 58-57 in the final 30 seconds. Tamil Nadu’s Eshwar P.B. put his head down and made a drive to the basket in Tamil Nadu’s final possession of regular time to pick up a foul and head to the free-throw line. He made one out of his two free-throws and tied the game at 58-58 with 2 seconds left on the clock. The game went into overtime, where Tamil Nadu took control and outscored Kerala 17-7, thereby winning the game 75-65. Tamil Nadu captain R. Hariram top scored with 27 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. Eshwar P.B. of Tamil Nadu put up 24 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and was adjudged the Most Valuable Player in the boys category.
On being quizzed after the finals about Tamil Nadu’s impressive basketball structure, Tamil Nadu team manager, Mr. L. Suren, explained how each of Tamil Nadu districts have their own leagues and the top teams of each district compete in an intra-state league to pick out the best players.
The boy’s and girl’s MVPs were awarded Rs. 15,000 each in prize money and an MVP plaque. The winning team in the boys and girls category, Tamil Nadu, received Rs. 75,000 each, the first runners up, Kerala, received Rs. 50,000 each and the second runners up, Haryana for the boys and Karnataka for the girls, received Rs. 25,000 each. The winners, first runners up and second runners up also received gold, silver and bronze medals respectively along with trophies. The chief guest for the finals who also awarded few trophies and medals was eminent politician and former union minister, Mr. Manish Tewari.
Earlier in the day, the Karnataka girls faced the Maharashtra girls to decide the 3rd and 4th places. The Maharashtra team got off to a strong start with a 12-point lead at the end of the first quarter. However, the Karnataka team came out in the second quarter firing on all cylinders with a 24-2 run to end the first half. Karnataka maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the match and defeated the Maharashtra team 69-52. Karnataka’s Priyanka top scored with 21 points, while Karnataka’s top scorer for the tournament, Lopamudra, put up a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds and also had 4 assists. Shruti Sherigar was the lone warrior for Maharashtra with 27 points and 9 rebounds.
The boys 3rd and 4th place match was between Chhattisgarh and Haryana. The first half was well contested with Haryana leading by only 2 points at halftime, 39-37. The second half was a different story as Chhattisgarh lost steam and Haryana ran away with the game. Poor defense by Chhattisgarh and speedy offense by Haryana resulted in Haryana securing 3rd place with a 76-62 victory. Ankit top scored for Haryana with 20 points while point guard Sonu Kumar had a good all-round game with 17 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. For Chhattisgarh, point guard Mithun Das was the top scorer with 21 points.
The detailed results of the matches held on 14th October 2014, the final day of the tournament, are as follows:
Girls: Tamil Nadu (Ishwarya J. 16, Sindhuja S. 11, Janaki R.U. 11) bt Kerala (Nivyaraj P.P. 19, Anusha I.P. 15, Aswathi J. 13) 64-59 (8-18, 13-14, 24-19, 19-8)
Boys: Tamil Nadu (R. Hariram 27, Eshwar P.B. 24, S. Kalidass 8) bt Kerala (P. Sudarsan 30, H. Haridas 17, Jacob J.J. 6) 75-65 (18-6, 15-12, 6-23, 19-17, OT 17-7)
3rd and 4th place matches
Girls: Karnataka (Priyanka P. 21, Bhoomika P. 19, Lopamudra T. 19) bt Maharashtra (Shruti Sherigar 27, Shahu N. 6, Pande R. 6) 69-52 (6-18, 24-2, 15-14, 24-18)
Boys: Haryana (Ankit 20, Sonu Kumar 17, Lalit 12, Deepak 12) bt Chhattisgarh 76-62 (Mithun Das 21, P. Pandey 17, A. Rai 14) 76-62 (21-16, 18-21, 20-12, 17-13)
About the 31st Youth National Basketball Championship
The Youth National Basketball Championship is an annual basketball tournament for the U-17 teams of boys and girls from various states of the country. This year’s tournament, being the 31st version, is taking place in Chandigarh from the 7th to the 14th of October, 2014. The tournament is being held under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India and IMG-Reliance and is being conducted by the Chandigarh Basketball Association. The venue for the tournament is the recently constructed multi-facility sports complex in Sector 42, Chandigarh along with two other basketball courts located in the Government College for Women, Sector 42, Chandigarh and the Gurunanak Dev Public School, Sector 36, Chandigarh. There are 25 boys teams and 24 girls teams taking part in this year’s championship, which will witness 130 matches in all. Last year’s tournament, in the boys category, was won by team Delhi, with Rajasthan finishing runners up. In the girls category, team Kerala were last year’s winners and Tamil Nadu finished in second place.