Nashik, 28 November 2014: The Kerala girls team have emerged winners of the 2014 Sub-Junior National Basketball Championship here in Nashik for the first time in the tournament’s 41 year history. The Kerala team defeated last year’s winners Chhattisgarh 78-72 and clinched the gold medal. The captain of the Kerala girls team put in an MVP-caliber performance with 36 points and 9 rebounds. Kerala’s Danielie Mathews pulled down 13 offensive rebounds and ended up with a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Chhattisgarh was up by two points 37-35 heading into the half-time break. However, Kerala came into the second half all guns blazing to build a double0digit lead. Despite outscoring Kerala in the fourth quarter, Chhattisgarh was unable to catch up to the Kerala team. Kerala Coach Winny Bestin ably guided his team that put up a solid show on both the offensive and defensive ends, using their size to their advantage. Unfortunately, for Chhattisgarh coach Rajesh Patel, this year’s Kerala team was too hot to handle and he was unable to achieve back-to-back titles at the Sub-Junior National Basketball Championship. Elizabet Ekka top scored for Chhattisgarh with 37 points.
After the Kerala girls clinched the gold medal, it was the boys’ turn to battle for gold at the 2014 Sub-Junior National Basketball Championship. Neighbouring states, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, both hotbeds of young basketball talent, squared off in the final match of the tournament. Madhya Pradesh ended up with a perfect record at this year’s sub-junior nationals by defeating Chhattisgarh 94-82.
The first half was an up-and-down affair as Chhattisgarh got off to a hot start leading 29-16 at the end of the first quarter. Madhya Pradesh, however, managed to claw its way back into the game in the second quarter, outscoring Chhattisgarh by 10 points. Entering the second half down by three points, Madhya Pradesh came out firing on all cylinders and built a slim lead over their opponents. MP continued their relentless attack in the fourth to build a double-digit lead with around five minutes to go in the game. In a sense, Chhattisgarh created their own downfall by missing some easy layups and with poor defense in the second half. Madhya Pradesh’s top scorer was Amit Singh Chouhan with 31 points – he also pulled down a colossal 17 rebounds, which included 7 offensive boards. Despite Amit being fouled out with under five minutes left in the game, the rest of the Madhya Pradesh team completed the job and came out victorious. It was a disappointing day for defending champions Chhattisgarh, who were completely outrebounded by Madhya Pradesh, 30 to 10 in total team rebounds. Salim Ali and Saif Ali Khan were the top scorers for Chhattisgarh with 26 points and 24 points respectively.
Predictably, the Most Valuable Player in the girls category was Kerala captain Sreekala R., who put up spectacular numbers throughout the tournament. The boys’ Most Valuable Player was Madhya Pradesh’s Mani Thakur, who consistently put up good numbers in the tournament and chipped in with 13 points today.
UP Girls and Rajasthan Boys Secure Third Place
On the morning of the final day of the tournament, the Uttar Pradesh girls defeated Haryana to win 3rd place. This game was more of a battle between two players – Vaishnavi Yadav of UP and Meenu of Haryana. Vaishnavi Yadav scored a massive 57 points, but Meenu broke her own record set yesterday by scoring a tournament high 65 points! The boys bronze medal game was won by Rajasthan, who defeated Odisha 73-61, without much hassle.
The semi-final matches held yesterday evening were high scoring contests with teams and players putting up big numbers. The Kerala girls qualified for the finals of the 41st Sub-Junior National Basketball Championship defeating Haryana 96-78, despite Haryana player Meenu’s record-breaking 50 points. Kerala captain Sreekala carried her team through with 42 points. Defending champions Chhattisgarh girls made it to the finals again with a 73-65 win over Uttar Pradesh, on the basis of a balanced scoring effort.
In the boys semi-finals, Madhya Pradesh got off to a hot start against Odisha and withstood an Odisha comeback in the second half to pick up a 78-61 win and book a place in the finals. In the other boys semi-final, defending boys champs Chhattisgarh defeated Rajasthan 96-85, with multiple Chhattisgarh players in double digits – Chhattisgarh will now face Madhya Pradesh in the finals in a clash between neighbouring states.
The results of matches held on 28 November 2014 are as follows:
3rd and 4th place matches:
For 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th classification:
Tamil Nadu (T. Monika 15) bt Karnataka (Grishman 15) 52-43 (18-15, 20-9, 8-8, 6-11)
Andhra Pradesh bt Assam (Assam team not present – match forfeited by Assam)
Haryana bt Uttar Pradesh (Uttar Pradesh team not present – match forfeited by Uttar Pradesh)
5th and 6th place:
Boys: Haryana (Mohit 27) bt Andhra Pradesh (S. Sachin 15) 88-83 (23-18, 21-27, 26-16, 18-21)
The details of the semi-final matches held on 27 November 2014 are as follows:
Kerala (Sreekala 42, Aparna 28) bt Haryana (Meenu 50, Ankita 11) 96-78 (28-27, 10-10, 30-20, 28-21)
Madhya Pradesh (D. Raj 22, Harshwardhan 16) bt Odisha (S. Das 20, Suresh 18) 78-61 (31-18, 10-6, 12-21, 25-16)
Chhattisgarh (Salim A. 18, Saif Ali Khan 17) bt Rajasthan (Kuldeep Singh 36, Nishij T. 12, Rajveer B. 12) 96-85 (28-22, 23-20, 18-18, 27-25)
About the 41st Sub-Junior National Basketball Championship
The Sub-Junior National Basketball Championship is an annual national tournament for U-14 boys’ and girls’ teams from states across India. The Nashik District Basketball Association and the Maharashtra State Basketball Association under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India and IMG-Reliance are conducting the 2014 tournament on the two wooden courts at the Meenatai Thakare Indoor Stadium here in Nashik. The tournament will be conducted over a period of 7 days from the 22nd to the 28th of November 2014. This year’s tournament is witnessing the participation of 27 boys’ teams and 25 girls’ teams from various states of the country. The 2013 version tournament was conducted in Patna, Bihar. The Chhattisgarh teams won both the boys and the girls category last year, while the Madhya Pradesh boys and the Tamil Nadu girls finished runners-up respectively.