Kannur: In an exciting first day of basketball action at the 35th National Games at Mundayad Indoor Stadium in Kannur, Kerala, Tamil Nadu men exacted revenge over reigning senior national champions Uttarakhand. With Amjyot Singh back in the lineup, this was a different Tamil Nadu team than the one which fell to Uttarakhand in the finals of last month’s 65th Senior National Basketball Championship.
Following in the men’s footsteps, Tamil Nadu’s women team too upset reigning senior national champions Chhattisgarh. Marking her return to competitive play, veteran international Anitha Pauldurai showed why she is the difference maker and premier playmaker for India in the last decade. Pauldurai had 10 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals in her side’s 67-56 win.
Hosts Kerala men and women got off to winning starts against Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh respectively, while Delhi women fell tamely to Punjab. A depleted Delhi side was missing the services of its entire starting five: the three Singh sisters apart from junior international Preeti Kumari and senior International Raspreet Sidhu.
Maharashtra forced Karnataka into numerous turnovers in the third quarter to race away to a 72-51 win after the scores were neck and neck 30-27 at halftime. Karnataka men too suffered a similar fate against a rampaging Services side that nearly scored in triple digits in their 97-77 win.
Continuing with the day’s trend of revenge wins, Punjab men put behind their loss to Haryana in the quarterfinals of the 65th Senior Nationals by beating the same opponents 89-82.
The last edition of the national games was held in Jharkhand in 2011 with Punjab and Tamil Nadu were the winners in the men and women sections respectively. This edition, the top eight men’s and women’s teams from the 64th Senior National Basketball Championship held in New Delhi, are taking part.
Results for 9/2/15
Kerala (Subash Shenoy 14 pts & 11 rbs, Ajeeth Sugunan 12, Basil Philip 11, Ashin Xavier 11, Robin S 11) bt Chhattisgarh (Ajay Pratap Singh 22, Kiranpal Singh 17 pts & 12 rbs, Shiv Kumar 10) 79-57 [22-12, 15-10, 20-13, 22-22]
Tamil Nadu (Prasanna Venkatesh 15, Pratham Singh 13, Siva Balan 12, Aravind 12) bt Uttarakhand (Yadwinder Singh 17 pts & 10 rbs, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 11, Arjun Singh 10) 66-60 [19-12, 10-11, 11-24, 26-13]
Tamil Nadu (Rajapriyadarshini 28 pts & 12 rbs, Alagu Tamil Mozhi 11, Anitha Pauldurai 10) bt Chhattisgarh (Anju Lakra 14, Sharanjeet Kaur 14, Seema Singh 11 pts & 11 rbs) 67-56 [17-13, 12-13, 13-15, 25-15]