Punjab's Rahul Mehla (in white) scores against Karnataka

Punjab’s Rahul Mehla (in white) scores against Karnataka

Ludhiana, Punjab, 5th October 2015: Defending champions Punjab boys are yet to face any challenge at the 66th Junior National Basketball Championship here in Ludhiana, Punjab. The home team had yet another easy victory, their third so far, against the Karnataka boys’ team that is yet to win a game. Punjab captain Jaipal Singh Mann top scored with 21 points in the blowout 83-34 victory.

Chhattisgarh's girls team during a timeout against Delhi

Chhattisgarh’s girls team during a timeout against Delhi

The defending champions Chhattigarh girls took on the Delhi team in the last game of Day 3. Delhi ran their offense mostly through their big frontcourt of Sushantika C., Shubham Ohlan and 6 foot 7 inch centre Pallavi Kumari. However, their guard play was lacking compared to the quick and decisive Chhattisgarh backcourt. Captain Riya put up 31 points for Chhattisgarh, who dominated the second half and closed out a 71-60 victory.

On Day 4, the qualifying matches commenced for promotion of teams from Level 2 to Level 1. As expected, the Tamil Nadu girls booked a place in Level 1 as they completely outplayed the Andhra Pradesh girls in a lopsided contest that ended at 48-10. The Rajasthan girls also moved the Level 1 with a victory over Odisha. In the boys’ matches, Uttar Pradesh moved to Level 1 with a 83-68 win over Gujarat in an offense-heavy contest. Chandigarh pulled off a surprise victory over Chhattisgarh 66-51 to book a place in level 1. Amit remained consistent for Chandigarh with 24 points in this game.

Kerala player (in white) operating in the paint against Andhra Pradesh (in green)

Kerala player (in white) operating in the paint against Andhra Pradesh (in green)

In the Level 1 games on Day 4 morning, the Maharashtra boys were involved in yet another nail-biting contest in the tournament. Taking on Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra got off to a good start and maintained their lead throughout the game. Sameer Qureshi put in 20 points in the victory for Maharashtra. Kerala boys also picked up a victory against the winless Andhra Pradesh side 64-29. In the other Level 1 boys’ game, Rajasthan captain Mahipal Singh led from the front, scoring 29 points in the win against Karnataka. After their initial loss against Punjab, Rajasthan has looked good with victories since. The tournament has been a nightmare for the Karnataka boys’ team that has not won a single game thus far.

Delhi's Sunil Kumar (in white) with the ball against Haryana (in black)

Delhi’s Sunil Kumar (in white) with the ball against Haryana (in black)

Later in the afternoon, the Delhi boys took on the Haryana side in a game expected to be close. The first half was tight with little to separate the teams. Haryana was running its offense through their point guard Sonu Kumar, whose penetration bothered the Delhi team. However, the second half was a different story as Delhi stepped up on both ends of the floor. Led by their captain Sunil Kumar, who has played on the junior India team, Delhi outscored the Haryana side and dominated on the boards. Sunil’s 33 points helped Delhi register a 98-81 victory.

Kerala (in white) and Maharashtra (in yellow) girls in action

Kerala (in white) and Maharashtra (in yellow) girls in action

The level 1 girls’ games for the day began in the afternoon with Uttar Pradesh cruising to a 50-15 victory against West Bengal. Last year’s runners up Kerala girls faced Maharashtra in a high-scoring contest. Maharashtra had a good first half, but could not keep up with the Kerala girls in the second half. Kerala’s superior stamina was on display against the tired and undersized Maharashtra team as they ran away with the game for a 94-73 victory.

Jammu and Kashmir player (in white) with a layup against Telangana (in blue)

Jammu and Kashmir player (in white) with a layup against Telangana (in blue)

The loser knockout quarterfinals also were scheduled for today. In the girls’ category, Goa and Jammu and Kashmir advanced to the loser knockout semifinals with wins against Bihar and Telangana respectively. The Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh girls faced stiffer competition, but prevailed against Chandigarh and Puducherry respectively to also advance to the loser knockout semifinals. In the boys’ category, West Bengal and Odisha boys have advanced to the loser knockout semis so far.

Results from Day 3 after 6:00 pm

Girls:

Level 1:

Chhattisgarh (Riya 31, Vandana 14, Megha 8) bt Delhi (Shubham Ohlan 17, Sushantika C. 14, Pallavi Kumari 9) 71-60 (12-13, 14-14, 24-18, 21-15)

Level 2:

Group E:

Puducherry (Kriti Agarwal 10, Anjali Jural 6) bt Uttarakhand 19-3 (8-1, 4-0, 3-0, 4-2)

Group F:

Telangana (G. Kavya 18, B. Akshitha 9) bt Tripura (Sonali 4) 31-9 (13-3, 6-0, 5-3, 7-3)

Boys:

Level 1:

Punjab (Jaipal Singh Mann 21, Rahul Mehla 20, Dilpreet 16) bt Karnataka (Siddarth 13) 83-34 (23-12, 25-4, 20-2, 15-9)

Level 2:

Group C:

Chhattisgarh (Atul Chauhan 22, Pankaj Pandey 8) bt Himachal Pradesh (Keshan Sood 11, Navjot Singh 10) 52-35 (21-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8)

Group D:

Odisha (Shiba 21, K. Sravan 18, Rudra Kanta 15) bt Gujarat (Shahzad 19, Jugal Anil 19, Mirant 11) 76-75 (19-21, 14-21, 19-8, 24-25)

Group E:

Uttar Pradesh (Deepak 14, Shivan 11) bt Goa (Roy Pereira 8, Nikhil Pinto 8) 59-33 (21-9, 16-11, 13-8, 9-5)

Results from Day 4 up to 6:00 pm

Girls:

Level 1:

Group B:

Uttar Pradesh (Vaishnavi Yadav 13, Shreyasi Vats 8) bt West Bengal (Paulami C. 7) 50-15 (8-2, 15-6, 19-3, 8-4)

Kerala (Amritha A. 14, Kavitha Jose 10) bt Maharashtra (CC Menzes 27, SY Salian 15) 94-73 (24-29, 18-15, 31-13, 21-16)

Level 2 qualifying matches (winner moves to Level 1):

Tamil Nadu (M. Surya 12, S. Srishti 5) bt Andhra Pradesh (S.K. Hafijunnisha 6) 48-10 (13-4, 13-2, 7-2, 15-2)

Rajasthan (Kamlesh 34, Pratibha Shekhawat 13) bt Odisha (Jayshree Bakey 18, Suvanki Sahoo 15) 68-55 (18-15, 19-14, 19-17, 12-9)

Loser Knockout Quarterfinals:

Gujarat (Daxa 18) bt Chandigarh (Akshita 18) 69-54 (15-12, 9-18, 30-8, 15-16)

Goa (Rachel 8) bt Bihar (Kajol 4) 30-6 (8-0, 6-2, 4-2, 12-2)

Jammu and Kashmir (Aashima 13, Paramjeet 10) bt Telangana (Kavya 8, Nuthana 7) 38-17 (5-7, 8-4, 12-2, 13-4)

Himachal Pradesh (Arushi 23, Vishali 18) bt Puducherry (Uma Rani 10, Rathika 8) 52-31 (12-10, 14-12, 14-4, 12-5)

Boys:

Level 1:

Group A:

Maharashtra (Sameer Qureshi 20, Sayyed Yousuf Asif 16) bt Madhya Pradesh (Mithun Das 17, Ashish Briggs 9, Ashwini Pandey 9) 66-63 (21-14, 15-15, 13-13, 17-21)

Rajasthan (Mahipal Singh 29, Akhilesh Kumar Tudu 27) bt Karnataka (Siddarth P.N. 14, Karthik Kumar 14) 76-53 (19-15, 19-21, 25-13, 13-4)

Group B:

Kerala (Jibin John 13, Amal Johnson 11) bt Andhra Pradesh (Sai Sri Harsha Reddy 8, L. Manoj Sivakrishna 8) 64-29 (25-10, 17-3, 12-8, 10-8)

Delhi (Sunil Kumar 33, Vishal Gupta 21, Rachit Kumar 14) bt Haryana (Sonu Kumar 19, Lalit 13, Deepak Kumar (no. 14) 13, Deepak Kumar (no. 15) 13) 98-81 (25-20, 18-25, 28-18, 27-18)

Level 2 qualifying matches (winner moves to Level 1):

Uttar Pradesh (Atal 18, Ashwani 17) bt Gujarat (Mirant 26, Jugal 12) 83-68 (15-15, 19-16, 21-19, 28-18)

Chandigarh (Amit 24, Abhishek 15) bt Chhattisgarh (Pankaj 22, Atul 13) 66-51 (24-9, 13-7, 13-12, 16-23)

Loser Knockout Quarterfinals:

West Bengal (Soumyadip 14, Arka Saha 13) bt Jammu and Kashmir (Amanjot 18, Nirbhay 10, Rohan 8) 70-45 (17-20, 22-16, 17-1, 8-8)

Odisha bt Uttarakhand by way of forfeit

About the 66th Junior National Basketball Championship

The 66th Junior National Basketball Championship is being organised in Ludhiana, Punjab. The tournament for the ‘18 and under’ category is scheduled from October 2 to October 9 2015 in the basketball hotbed of Punjab, which has produced numerous star international players. The Punjab Basketball Association is the organising body for the tournament under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India. The venue for the championship is the courts at the Guru Nanak Stadium. There is one indoor court and two outdoor courts at the venue.

Last year’s Junior National Championship was held in Kochi, Kerala. Home team Punjab boys were the winners of the 65th version of the tournament; while Delhi came runners up and Tamil Nadu were the third placed team in the boys’ category. For the girls, Chhattisgarh are the defending champions, who defeated the Kerala girls in the final last year. Uttar Pradesh girls achieved third place.

This year’s tournament will witness the participation of 24 states, each with a boys’ and girls’ team. The last time a national level basketball championship was held in Ludhiana was the Senior National Basketball Championship in 2012-13.

About Basketball Federation of India

The Basketball Federation of India or BFI is the governing and controlling body of basketball in India, and is responsible for the development and promotion of the sport at all levels. BFI has been involved in conducting camps, clinics, events, and training sessions at its academies for the development of basketball. BFI came into being in 1935 and took complete control over Indian basketball in 1950. Prior to that time, the Indian Olympic Association handled the conduct of Indian basketball championships. Since 1950, the BFI has been conducting various such championships, from the grassroots to senior team participation in international tournaments. In addition, the BFI has been responsible for the establishment of strong sub-junior and junior level programs. The BFI has to its credit produced several international players of repute, among them 17 have been bestowed with the honour of Arjuna Awards. Earlier in June 2015, 19-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara made history by becoming the first Indian national to be drafted by an NBA team, when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks. More information at www.basketballfederationindia.org

Vishnu Ravi Shankar
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