[Gopalakrishnan R & Vishnu Ravi Shankar] Bhilwara, Rajasthan: The action packed 65th Senior National Basketball Championship 2014-15 concluded a short while ago, with Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh crowned champions in the men’s and women’s divisions respectively.
Chhattisgarh repeat as champions
In a game of two halves, Chhattisgarh’s 6ft 9 inch centre Poonam Chaturvedi made it a no contest with her effortless scoring in the second half to carry Chhattisgarh to a convincing 84-75 win over Delhi. Delhi women made it to the finals after three years, but if today’s match is anything to go by, their wait for the national crown will continue for a while longer.
Delhi’s opponents Chhattisgarh though underlined its position as the best women’s unit in the country. After beating heavy weights Railways in the semifinals last evening, Chhattisgarh appeared slightly lacking in energy in the first half. They were over reliant on Poonam Chaturvedi on both ends of the floor and slow to assist her when it came to boxing out and rebounding. As a result, Delhi surprisingly got multiple second chance opportunities which allowed it to lead 22-19 at the end of the first quarter.
The second half though belonged to Poonam Chaturvedi. Delhi had committed multiple team fouls trying to defend her in the first twenty minutes of play, as a result of which they had to ease off in the third quarter. Chaturvedi was unstoppable around the basket, catching the ball high over the Delhi players and finishing with her characteristic poise for her mammoth 48 points.
It is interesting to note that Chhattisgarh was missing the services of veteran Bharti Netam (in the Railways team), Kavita (injured) and Seema Singh who were an integral part of the side in last year’s maiden Championship run. But credit to Coach Rajesh Patel’s system of churning out numerous match ready players, that they were not missed one bit.
Uttarakhand men reclaim national crown
Back to full strength after missing centre Murali Krishna and star guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi last year, Uttarakhand men displayed top class professionalism throughout the tournament to reclaim the national crown by beating defending champions Tamil Nadu. Uttarakhand had last won the Senior Nationals two years ago at the 63rd Senior Nationals in Ludhiana, Punjab.
A supremely balanced outfit of past and current internationals, Uttarakhand was impeccable on both ends of the floor. Defensively, they out-rebounded Tamil Nadu 55 to 45, restricting them to just 28 points in the first two quarters combined. Offensively, they scored from all parts of the floor. Centre Amritpal Singh who has been hugely effective throughout the tournament, shined with 27 points and 14 rebounds. The moment Tamil Nadu started double teaming him in the post, Singh had the foresight to kick it out to his open teammates for the outside shot.
For Tamil Nadu, the match started off with their lynchpin and captain Amjyot Singh on the bench with an ankle injury. Even without Amjyot, Tamil Nadu had numerous relatively easy scoring opportunities which they missed. Backup centre Jeevanatham was the chief culprit missing easy jumpshots in the paint. With their post players rendered ineffective, the international guards of Tamil Nadu Pratham Singh, Akilan Pari and Pranna Venkatesh fought hard. In the second half, Amjyot Singh finally checked into the match and Tamil Nadu roared back within single digits of Uttarakhand. However, in the last quarter every time Tamil Nadu made a run, Uttarakhand kept scoring mainly through Yadwinder Singh for the memorable 72-63 win.
The winning teams received Rs 1,50,000/-, runners up Rs 1,00,000/- and third place finishers Rs 50,000/-
Results from 5-1-2015
Chhattisgarh (Poonam Chaturvedi 48 pts & 12 rbs, Sharanjeet Kaur 18) bt Delhi (Madhu Kumari 15, Pratima Singh 15, Akanksha Singh 13) 84-75 [19-22, 21-16, 26-11, 18-26]
Uttarakhand (Amritpal Singh 27 pts & 14 rbs, Yadwinder Singh 16, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 13) bt Tamil Nadu (Pratham Singh 15, Amjyot Singh 11) 72-63 [22-12, 17-16, 10-15, 23-20]
3rd and 4th Place Matches
Indian Railway (Smruthi Radhakrishnan 16, Sitamani Tudu 14, R Rajapriyadarshini 14) bt Kerala (Poojamol KS 18, Neenumol PS 16, Jeena PS 14) 81-76 [23-18, 11-13, 19-18, 28-27]
Services (Joginder Singh 22, Narender Grewal 21, Abhishek YP 15) bt Haryana (Deepak Rathee 23, Himanshu S 20, Hemant S 20) 87-70 [19-15, 28-24, 9-19, 31-12]
About the 65th Senior National Basketball Championship 2014-15
The 65th Senior National Basketball Championship 2014 is being held in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. The Championship is being organised by the Bhilwara District Basketball Association in collaboration with the Rajasthan State Basketball Association under the aegis of Basketball Federation of India and IMG-Reliance. Matches are being held at the Sukhodia Indoor Stadium and the two outdoor courts at the Nagar Parishad complex. 27 men’s teams and 24 women’s teams are participating in this event that will be played in a league-cum-knockout format. For this year’s edition, Tamil Nadu men and Chhattisgarh women are the defending champions.
The teams have been divided into two levels: the upper Level 1 and lower level 2. Level 1 teams have further been split into two groups (A and B) while Level 2 teams have been split into four groups. The top four teams from each Level 1 group and the top team from each of the four Level 2 groups will qualify for the knockout stages. A separate knockout tournament (called “Losers Knockouts”) will also be held for the 2nd and 3rd placed teams from each of the four lower level groups that will be knocked out of the main tournament.