Chhattisgarh (in blue) and Karnataka players (in maroon) in action

Chhattisgarh (in blue) and Karnataka (in maroon) players in action

Ludhiana, Punjab, 6th October 2015: The evening matches of Day 4 of the 66th Junior National Basketball Championship had two level 1 girls’ games featuring some of the tournament’s best players. Defending champions Chhattisgarh girls faced an unbeaten Karnataka girls team that was led by Bhandavya Mahesha, who played on the senior women’s team at the FIBA Asia Championship earlier this year. As expected, the match for tight for the first three quarters, with the Chhattisgarh holding a slim lead. Their captain Riya Verma was on a roll leading all scorers with 35 points. Bhandavya too had a good game with 21 points and her teammate Bhoomika contributed 21 points as well. But come fourth quarter, the Chhattisgarh girls switched to a higher gear and outscored Karnataka 30 to 16. Chhattisgarh maintained their winning record with a 93-73 victory.

Punjab's Gagandeep Kaur (in white) with the ball against Madhya Pradesh

Punjab’s Gagandeep Kaur (in white) with the ball against Madhya Pradesh

In the other level 1 girls’ game, home team Punjab girls took on Madhya Pradesh. With Somi Kumari and Gagandeep Kaur carrying a bulk of the scoring load for Punjab, the home team built an early lead and never took their foot off the accelerator. Despite a sluggish second and third quarter, Punjab maintained the upper hand and finished the game strong with a 71-60 victory. Sakshi Pandey scored 30 points for Madhya Pradesh in a losing effort.

The remaining two loser knockout quarterfinals for the boys also took place yesterday evening with Himachal Pradesh comfortably beating Goa, while Bihar registered a win against Puducherry.

In the first half of Day 5, the Karnataka girls bounced back from their previous loss with an emphatic 80-37 victory over Delhi. Bhandavya and Bhoomika scored a combined 41 points in the game for Karnataka. Maharashtra girls defeated Haryana by a good margin 90 to 65.  Despite conceding a 7-point lead in the first quarter, Maharashtra outscored their opponent in the remaining 3 quarters led by Carina’s 25 points.

Maharashtra player (in white) on offense against Haryana (in black)

Maharashtra player (in white) on offense against Haryana (in black)

In the boys’ level 1 games, Rajasthan continued their good run with a 91-75 win over Madhya Pradesh. Their go-to player on offense, Mahipal Singh, had 32 points in today’s game for Rajasthan.

Kerala player (in white) lays the ball in against Uttar Pradesh (in black)

Kerala player (in white) lays the ball in against Uttar Pradesh (in black)

Later in the day, Kerala girls overcame a slow start against Uttar Pradesh and relentlessly attacked in the second half to clinch a comfortable victory. Both teams emptied their benches towards the end of the game given the huge margin between the teams. Kerala ended up winning the game 68-42 led by Nimmy George’s 15 points. Kerala boys also picked up a win against Haryana. With multiple players scoring in double digits, Kerala cruised to a 14-point victory with the game ended at 77-63.

Kerala (in white) against Haryana (in black)

Kerala (in white) against Haryana (in black)

Defending champions Chhattisgarh girls disappointed the home crowd beating the Punjab side in a blowout game. Chhattisgarh size was too much to handle for Punjab, as majority of their scoring came inside the paint or in transition. The defending champions continued their winning ways with a 76-48 victory.

Chhattisgarh (in maroon) and Punjab (in white) girls at tip off

Chhattisgarh (in maroon) and Punjab (in white) girls at tip off

With the group stages coming to a close, the quarterfinal lineup is almost set. No major surprises, as many of the favourites have advanced to the knockout stage.

Results from Day 4 after 6:00 pm

Girls: 

Level 1: 

Group A: 

Chhattisgarh (Riya Verma 35, Vandana 15, Megha Singh 11) bt Karnataka (Bhandavya H.M. 21, Bhoomika P. 21) 93-73 (22-19, 17-17, 24-21, 30-16)

Punjab (Somi Kumari 21, Gagandeep Kaur 14, Sandhya Kumari 13) bt Madhya Pradesh (Sakshi Pandey 30, Anubha Thakur 14, Shivani Barman 8) 71-60 (25-15, 11-13, 13-17, 22-15)

Boys: 

Loser Knockout Quarterfinals:

Himachal Pradesh (Arvind 22, Sawan 14) bt Goa (Velly Rodrigues 11, Roy Pereira 11) 64-33 (17-10, 11-10, 28-9, 8-4) 

Bihar (Atchuthan 20, Barani Dharan 14) bt Puducherry (Vishnu K. 23, Nitesh K. 21) 66-53 (17-16, 13-14, 12-11, 24-12)

Results from Day 5 up to 6:30 pm

Girls:

Level 1:

Group A:

Karnataka (Bhandavya H.M. 21, Bhoomika P. 20) bt Delhi (Pallavi Kumari 12, Sushantika C. 10, Raginee Jha 7) 80-37 (23-9, 20-13, 16-8, 21-7)

Chhattisgarh (Vandana 17, Jonali Dutta 17) bt Punjab (Gagandeep Kaur 14, Sandhya 13, Somi Kumari 11) 76-48 (17-7, 18-10, 15-20, 26-11)

Group B:

Maharashtra (Carina 25, Shreya 19, Priyanka 15) bt Haryana (Bharti 20, Namrata 18, Garima 7) 90-65 (17-24, 18-13, 26-16, 29-15)

Kerala (Nimmy G. 15, Anusha 10) bt Uttar Pradesh (Vashnavi Yadav 19, Anjana 7) 68-42 (17-20, 20-11, 18-3, 13-8)

Qualifying matches (winner decides opponent in pre-quarterfinal):

Tamil Nadu (M. Nishanthi 14, C. Aparna 14, K. Prithi 13) bt Rajasthan (Kamlesh 10, Prathibha 8) 63-39 (19-11, 16-6, 12-14, 16-5)

Loser Knockout Semifinals:

Himachal Pradesh (Vishali 18, Monika Devi 15) bt Jammu and Kashmir (Pearl Sharma 16, Aashima 5) 54-34 (11-6, 11-7, 9-12, 23-9)

Gujarat (Daxa 12, Sharuari 8, Ria 6) bt Goa (Rachel Raposa 5, Jesida 4) 44-19 (11-4, 11-5, 19-4, 3-6)

Boys:

Level 1:

Group A:

Rajasthan (Mahipal Singh 32, Yogesh Kanderiya 15) bt Madhya Pradesh (Mithun Das 35, Gautam Yadav 11) 91-75 (23-20, 20-16, 22-20, 26-19)

Group B:

Kerala (Amal 25, Arjun 19, Prem 16) bt Haryana (Deepak (jersey no. 15) 18, Deepak (jersey no. 12) 12) 77-63 (19-13, 19-16, 18-15, 21-19)

Qualifying matches (winner decides opponent in pre-quarterfinal):

Chandigarh (Amit 28, Abhishek 18, Jatin 14) bt Uttar Pradesh (Shivan 12, Atal Rai 10, Ashutosh 9) 78-53 (13-10, 18-12, 27-11, 20-20)

Loser Knockout Semifinals:

Himachal Pradesh (Dhruv Kashyap 15, Sawan Jaswal 15, Keshav Sood 14) bt Bihar (Vishnu Kumar 20, Abhinandan 11) 63-51 (19-14, 15-14, 13-11, 16-12)

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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