Krittika Divadkar of Maharashtra (in yellow) attempts a layup against Rajapriyadarshini of TN.

Krittika Divadkar of Maharashtra (in yellow) attempts a layup against Rajapriyadarshini of TN.

Both the men and women’s teams from Tamil Nadu are through to the finals of the basketball event of the 35th National Games 2015. The men outlasted Karnataka 80-67, while the women led from from start to finish against Maharashtra to win 64-58.

Maharashtra women seemed to lack any offensive game plan and were overly reliant on veteran international Manisha Dange’s outside shooting. Dange ended the game with 27 points & 12 rebounds, but Maharashtra’s inconsistent offense in the first three quarters meant that Tamil Nadu never looked in trouble. International centre Rajapriyadarshini and the ageless Sunitha Suren (whose daughter is part of the youth India camp) led from the front to record double doubles of their own. Tamil Nadu will now face familiar rivals Kerala in tomorrow’s finals. The two teams had clashed earlier in the league stages with the hosts coming out on top.

Pratham Singh with a jumpshot against Karnataka.

Pratham Singh with a jumpshot against Karnataka.

Karnataka men put up a great offensive performance in the first half and trailed by just two points going into the third quarter. However, Tamil Nadu men were able to shut down the interior presence of Karnataka’s captain and centre Aravind to go on a 28-11 scoring run in the third quarter.  Anil Kumar’s fighting 24 points were in vain for Karnataka while Tamil Nadu was well served by the double double of centre Aravindh’s 12 points and 14 boards.

Poojamol KS of Kerala shows her hops against Karnataka.

Poojamol KS of Kerala shows her hops against Karnataka’s Roshini.

In the third semifinal of the evening, hosts Kerala stepped on the gas in the second half against Karnataka, outscoring their southern neighbours 69-50 to win by a comfortable 19 point margin. There was nothing to separate the two teams in the first half, with the scores tied 25-25. However, in the final twenty minutes of play, the superior athleticism and fitness of the international players from Kerala especially Smruthi Radhakrishnan and Jeena PS proved to be the telling difference between the two sides.

Ex-international Trideep Rai with his classic jumpshot against Services.

Ex-international Trideep Rai with his classic jumpshot against Services.

The last semifinals of the evening saw Uttarkhand beat Services as predicted, but this win wasn’t without hiccups. Services were missing the services (no pun intended) of ex- international forward Jairam Jat, who played only a minute and half before bowing out with a calf injury. However, in his absence, internationals Narender and Joginder stepped up to keep Services in the hunt. Services trailed by only 6 points going into the final five minutes, before Uttarakhand went on a 10-2 run to close out the match. Uttarakhand will now face Tamil Nadu in the finals, a team it narrowly lost to earlier in the league stages.

Semifinal Results for 12/2/15

Men

Tamil Nadu (Jeevanatham 15, Siva Balan 13, Aravindh 12 pts & 14 rbs) bt Karnataka (Anil Kumar 24, Aravind A 16 pts & 11 rbs, Rajesh Uppar 12) 80-67 [15-17, 15-11, 28-11, 22-28]

Uttarakhand (Riyazuddin 20, Trideep Rai 14, Amritpal Singh 14) bt Services (Narender Grewal 16, Joginder Singh 13, P Rathee 12) 71-57 [19-18, 19-14, 14-15, 19-10]

Women

Tamil Nadu (Raja Priyadarshini 24 pts & 21 rbs, Sunitha Suren 18 pts & 11 rbs, R Ramya 10) bt Maharashtra (Manisha Dange 27 pts & 12 rbs, Sruthi Menon 11) 64-58 [19-7, 14-16, 15-11, 16-24]

Kerala (Jeena PS 30 pts & 16 rbs, Neenumol PS 14, Poojamol KS 13) bt Karnataka (Navaneeta 19, Savitha 13, Roshini 11) 69-50 [12-11, 13-14, 23-12, 21-13]

Schedule for 13/2/2015

Bronze Medal Matches

2.00 pm Women Karnataka vs Maharashtra

3.30 pm Men Karnataka vs Services

Gold Medal Matches

5.00 pm Women Kerala vs Tamil Nadu

6.30 pm Men Tamil Nadu vs Uttarakhand