Tamil Nadu's A Arvind rises up for the basket against Services.

Tamil Nadu’s A Arvind rises up for the basket against Services.

[Gopalakrishnan R & Vishnu Ravi Shankar] Bhilwara, Rajasthan: In the last semi-final match of the day, Tamil Nadu men’s sustained scoring through four quarters saw them beat Services 86-73 to enter the finals of the 65th Senior National Basketball Championship 2014-15.

The teams exchanged the lead as many as 14 times through the first 25 minutes of the game, but in the last quarter and a half, Services faltered time and again to hand the defending champions a 13 point win. Veteran international point guard from Services Sambhaji Kadam battled hard to stay in the match, but his injury troubles over the last year and a half meant that he had to frequently be taken out of the match. Without Kadam’s no-look passing wizardry, and with fellow international guard Joginder Singh being ineffective, the weight of scoring fell on India international Narender Grewal. But Grewal’s valiant double double of 29 points and 11 rebounds barely allowed Services to match Tamil Nadu’s scoring runs.

For Tamil Nadu, internationals Amjyot Singh (power forward), Prasanna Venkatesh (small forward) and Akilan Pari (point guard) played as per their reputation. Captain Amjyot Singh led from the front yet again with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Akilan was the source of numerous highlight plays that included a half court buzzer beater at the end of the second quarter. On his part, Venkatesh came good with some timely three pointers. The scores were tied at 60 each at the end of the third quarter, but Tamil Nadu went on a 26-13 scoring spree in the last 10 minutes to seal its second straight finals berth.

Chhatttisgarh topple Railways yet again

Chhattisgarh's point guard L Deep is double teamed by Indian Railways during the women's semifinals.

Chhattisgarh’s point guard L Deep is double teamed by Indian Railways during the women’s semifinals.

In a fascinating match between two high quality teams, defending champions Chhattisgarh came out aggressively in the first half to take a double digit lead at halftime. Indian Railways though fought back late in the third quarter thanks to international Rajapriyadarshini leading from the front. Rajapriya was able to repeatedly drive past the much taller Poonam Chaturvedi, Chhattisgarh’s 6ft 9 inch centre who would end the match with 27 pts and 13 rebounds.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Indian Railway took a slender four point lead only to watch it slip away as Chhattisgarh mounted another run of its own to take the match 83-79. Chaturvedi was particularly effective late in the fourth quarter with multiple And 1 plays, and her teammates did well to lob the ball to her deep inside the paint over the outstretched arms of the Railways frontline. This is the second time in two years that Chhattisgarh has toppled powerhouse Railways. Last year it had beaten the Railway women in the finals to end its decade long run as national champions.

Uttarakhand eases into the finals

Uttarakhand's Vishesh Bhriguvanshi on the break against Haryana in the semifinals.

Uttarakhand’s Vishesh Bhriguvanshi on the break against Haryana in the semifinals.

The first men’s semi-final between Uttarakhand and Haryana threw no surprises as the Uttarakhand men continued their winning ways to advance to the final of the 65th Senior National Basketball Championship 2014-15. The Haryana men exceeded all expectations by reaching the semi-final of the tournament but their amazing run ended today as they punched above their weight against the strong Uttarakhand team. Led by the guard play of current India international Vishesh Bhrighuvanshi and former India captain Riyazuddin, Uttarakhand pulled away after the first quarter with numerous transition buckets. Vishesh put up a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

Point guard Riyazuddin had 18 points and found his teammates on timely occasions to end up with 7 assists. Haryana were undersized against the Uttarakhand line-up and were outrebounded 40 to 29 in team rebounds. Uttarakhand’s 7-foot centre Amrit Man was another key factor for his team – he had 16 points and 13 rebounds in the game. Haryana’s main contributor was its point guard Himanshu S. who kept them in the game with his 3-point shooting. He ended up with 19 points. Uttarakhand is now through to the finals to be played tomorrow against the winner of the second men’s semi-final between Tamil Nadu and Services.

Delhi Women beat Kerala

Prashanti Singh of Delhi scores against Kerala in transition.

Prashanti Singh of Delhi scores against Kerala in transition.

An inspired Delhi side is through to the finals after beating Kerala in the 65th Senior National Basketball Championship 2014-15 that is underway in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. The balanced attack of Delhi saw crisp ball movement and excellent spacing that opened up easy and numerous scoring opportunities for the team from the national capital. Kerala features as many as four international stars in Poojamol KS, Stephy Nixon, Jeena PS and Neenumol, but tonight the stronger team on paper was outdone by the Delhi women. The three ‘Singh Sisters’ of Prashanti Singh, Pratima Singh and Akanksha Singh, along with fellow internationals Raspreet Sidhu and Preeti Kumari kept their composure to maintain a slender single digit lead all the way to the final buzzer. Jeena PS’s double double for Kerala of 18 points and 12 rebounds was in vain.

Punjab men’s downward spiral continues

International guard Prakash Mishra against Karnataka's point guard Rajesh Upper in a placement match.

International guard Prakash Mishra against Karnataka’s point guard Rajesh Upper in a placement match.

Getting yourself motivated to play placement matches can be tricky, especially if your team has Championship winning aspirations. The erstwhile fancied Punjab men’s team which got knocked out in the quarterfinals yesterday by the unheralded Haryana side failed to move beyond second gear in an insipid 31-44 loss to Kerala men.

In other placement matches, Karnataka showed professionalism in going all out against Railways winning a high scoring contest 83-80. Speedy guard Anil Kumar top scored with 21 points for the winners. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu women too won their placement matches against close competitors Telangana and Karnataka respectively.

Later in the afternoon, Maharashtra women and Karnataka men won their 5th place matches against Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively. In the 7th-8th place games, Karnataka women and Indian Railways men beat Telangana and Punjab respectively.

Results from 4-1-2015

Semifinals

Women

Men

Placement Matches for 5th & 6th Positions

Women

Maharashtra (Sruthi Menon 30, Krittika Divadkar 22, Mugdha A 12) bt Tamil Nadu (Divya K 13, Keerthi 12, Divya D 11) 82-68 [16-12, 19-13, 25-18, 22-25]

Men

Karnataka (Anil Kumar 18, Dhiraj Shetty 10) bt Kerala (Jomon Jose 15, Ajeeth Sugunan 8) 45-32 [13-11, 7-4, 12-11, 13-6]

Placement Matches for 7th & 8th Positions

Women

Karnataka (Bhandavya 21, Svitha 20, Navneetha 13) bt Telangana (Suganya 24, Aishwarya N 10) 70-56 [13-17, 20-10, 15-21, 22-18]

Men

Indian Railways (Kamran Khan 17, Abhishek 7, Partha Sarthi S 7) bt Punjab (Arshdeep 8, Amritpal 6) 47-25 [19-10, 16-4, 9-8, 3-3]

Placement Matches for 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th Positions

*Winning teams will play later this afternoon to decide 5th & 6th positions, while losing teams will play later this afternoon for the 7th & 8th positions

Women

  • Maharashtra (Sruthi Menon 16, Amruta Bhuskute 15) bt Telangana (Gayathri 17, Suganya 11) 48-45 [20-8, 4-17, 5-11, 19-9]
  • Tamil Nadu (Divya 22, Sunitha Suren 12) bt Karnataka (Svitha 23) 59-51 [15-12, 10-10, 15-13, 19-16]

Men

  • Karnataka (Anil Kumar 31, Arvind A 13) bt Railways (Prakash Mishra 24, Samir 24) 83-80 [21-26, 20-10, 20-15, 22-29]
  • Kerala (Manoj R 15, Basil Philip 11, Jomon Jose 10) bt Punjab (Arshpreet Bhullar 14, Rajvir Singh 8) 44-31 [12-6, 6-6, 15-10, 11-9, 11-9]

Placement Matches for 9th & 10th Place

Women

Madhya Pradesh (Monica G 20, Nima Doma Bhutia 13 pts & 16 rbs, Madhu S 11 pts & 12 rbs) bt Punjab (Kirandeep Kaur 27) 68-56 [25-20, 24-18, 12-17, 7-1]

Men

Delhi (Ajay S 22 pts & 13 rbs, Happy 20, Yatan S 18 pts & 16 rbs, Manprit S 18) Telangana (LS Reddy 31, SG Patil 21, Vijay Kumar M 15) 98-79 [25-25, 16-23, 28-16, 29-15]

Loser’s Knockout Finals (Women’s Level 2)

Assam (Anju S 28 pts & 20 rbs, Sagarika M 13 pts & 15 rbs) bt Bihar (Priyanka A 17, Sravanthi GS 14, Kritika R 12) 59-54 [12-11, 11-14, 19-9, 17-20]

About the 65th Senior National Basketball Championship 2014

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.