Delhi's Sunil Kumar (no. 10, in white) with the ball against Chandigarh (in blue)

Delhi’s Sunil Kumar (no. 10, in white) with the ball against Chandigarh (in blue)

Ludhiana, Punjab, 8th October 2015: The final two quarterfinals on Day 6 of the 66th Junior National Basketball Championship featured two quality boys’ matches. Delhi took on Chandigarh, in what was expected to be an easy win for Delhi. But the Chandigarh boys, who moved from Level 2 to Level 1 earlier in the tournament showed a lot of heart and competed toe-to-toe with the Delhi side. The first half was a close affair with only 1 point separating the teams. Delhi’s Sunil Kumar and centre Vishal Gupta carried the scoring load for their team, while Amit and Abhishek from Chandigarh put up the numbers for their side. But the third quarter belong to Delhi as they outscored Chandigarh by 13 points. Maintaining their lead for the rest of the game, Delhi clinched a 10-point victory and booked a semi-final berth to face home team Punjab.

Haryana player (in black) rising high above the Rajasthan defense (in white)

Haryana player (in black) rising high above the Rajasthan defense (in white)

The final quarterfinal of the day between Rajasthan and Haryana was a nailbiting affair that was decided in overtime. In a match that saw several lead changes, there was nothing to separate the teams in regular time. It was a high-scoring offense-heavy affair with both teams matching each other shot for shot. Point guard Sonu Kumar from Haryana orchestrated the offense for his team and also scored 20 points. Haryana’s Lalit contributed 26 points in the game. For Rajasthan, Mahipal Singh put up 34 points while Akhilesh Tudu scored 20. The game was close in the extra time period as well, with Haryana going up by 4 points with under 30 seconds left. Despite a late three by Rajasthan to bring the game within 1 point, Haryana held on to register a 105-103 victory and advance to the semi-finals to face Tamil Nadu.

The loser knockout final for the boys was won by Odisha defeating Himachal Pradesh in a tight contest that ended 68-65. On Day 7, the placement matches for 5th to 10th place took place in the morning session. The results from last evening and today morning are below.

The semifinal stage arrived on Day 7 of the 66th Junior National Basketball Championship in Ludhiana, Punjab. The first semifinal was scheduled between the Tamil Nadu and Haryana boys. As the third place team in the 2014 Junior Nationals, Tamil Nadu was eager to climb higher and reach the final. On the other hand, Haryana have looked in top form and came off a thrilling extra time victory in their quarterfinal match against Rajasthan.

Tamil Nadu player (in purple and yellow) rises for the layup against Haryana (in white)

Tamil Nadu player (in purple and yellow) rises for the layup against Haryana (in white)

Both teams seemed evenly matched and the first half was a close affair. Haryana’s point guard Sonu Kumar remained consistent in orchestrating his team’s offense. His ability to penetrate bothered the Tamil Nadu defense as he got to the basket multiple times. Tamil Nadu point guard S. Kalidas got his midrange game going in the first half with his ability to stop and pop from the elbow region. The first half ended with the scores at 43-43.

In the second half, Tamil Nadu was a bit sluggish as Haryana took a slim lead. But towards the end of the third quarter and in the fourth, Tamil Nadu took over the game. R. Hari Ram and P. Baladhaneshwar carried the scoring load for Tamil Nadu in the fourth quarter as they outscored Haryana 36 to 18. The real difference was in the rebounding. Tamil Nadu outrebounded Haryana 58 to 36. R. Hari Ram pulled down 11 boards, while backup Tamil Nadu centre Dhimant Sahi had a double-double of his own with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Deepak put in 22 points for Haryana in a losing effort. Tamil Nadu won the game 99-85 and advanced to the final scheduled tomorrow.

Chhattisgarh player on a fast break layup against Punjab (in light blue)

Chhattisgarh player on a fast break layup against Punjab (in light blue)

The second semifinal of the day was a girls match between defending champions Chhattisgarh and home team Punjab. Chhattisgarh have been unbeaten in the tournament so far and Punjab had an uphill task ahead of them. The game turned out to be a one-sided affair as the undersized Punjab team could not contain the Chhattisgarh offense. Chhattisgarh 6 foot plus centre Jonali Dutta towered over the Punjab defense and managed to put up a huge double-double with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Vandana had 23 points of her own for Chhattisgarh who pulled away early in the game and enjoyed a big lead throughout. Punjab’s Gagandeep Kaur kept battling and scored 17 points in the game. But she did not get enough support from her teammates who were overwhelmed by the defending champs. In the end, Chhattisgarh cruised to a 78-49 victory and booked a place in the final for the second straight year.

After the Chhattisgarh girls and Tamil Nadu boys booked a place in the semi-finals, the other teams in contention for a final spot battled it out yesterday evening. The third semifinal game was a clash of two south Indian basketball powerhouses, the Kerala and Karnataka girls. Both teams looked in top form entering the semifinal and the game was expected to be a close contest.

Both teams displayed their typical style of team play and ball rotation. Kerala had a better start to the game gaining a slim lead in the first quarter. But Karnataka surged in the second quarter to regain the lead. The youngest player on the senior India team Bhandavya Mahesha led her team well. But her teammate Bhoomika outshone her in this game. She put up good all-round numbers with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals with no turnovers. The other big difference between the teams was their play on the inside. Karnataka scored 42 points from inside the paint area at a shooting percentage of 54%. Their post player Priyanka had a big double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds.

Karnataka player (in maroon) on a fast break layup against Kerala (in white)

Karnataka player (in maroon) on a fast break layup against Kerala (in white)

For Kerala, their post player Mayukha top scored with 17 points. The middle quarters were difficult for the Kerala side as they conceded a big lead to Karnataka – up to 15 points in the middle of the third quarter. But the never-say-die Kerala side attempted a late comeback and even got the game within 1 point midway through the fourth quarter. But Karnataka played a better game in the final minutes and managed to pull away for a 10-point victory. They will now face the defending champions Chhattisgarh girls in the final today afternoon.

Punjab's Swapnil Sharma (in dark blue) shoots a jumper against Delhi (in white)

Punjab’s Swapnil Sharma (in dark blue) shoots a jumper against Delhi (in white)

In the last semifinal of the day, home team Punjab boys took on an unbeaten Delhi side. The last time these two teams faced each other in the Junior Nationals was in the final of last year’s championship, which was won by Punjab. Delhi were looking to exact revenge yesterday in front of a raucous Punjab crowd. In the first quarter, Delhi managed to keep the crowd quiet with a great start. Their go-to scorer Sunil Kumar continued his top form into this game, and even put on a show for the crowd with a left handed dunk on the break in the first half. But the scoring contribution from his teammates Rachit Singh and Vishal Kumar Gupta were lacking today. Punjab bounced back in the middle quarters, led by the outside shooting of their point guard Dilpreet. Backup centre Swapnil Sharma was put into the game in the second quarter and immediately had an impact. He used his size to his advantage against the thinner Delhi centre Vishal, bullying his way inside the paint. Punjab had a major rebounding advantage owing to their forwards Swapnil and Ajit Poonia, who both rebounded in double digits. Ajit had a huge 21 rebounds in the game, including 8 offensive boards, which was back-breaking for the Delhi team. Punjab’s small forward off the bench, Sahil, was efficient in his limited minutes, scoring 6 of 9 from the field with 15 points. Punjab held on to the lead built in the middle periods and clinched an 85-74 victory to make it to the final for the second consecutive year. They will face Tamil Nadu later today evening in the final.

Results from Day 6 after 7 pm

Boys:

Quarterfinals:

Delhi (Sunil 39, Vishal Kumar Gupta 18) bt Chandigarh (Amit 34, Abhishek 25) 85-75 (19-18, 20-20, 28-15, 18-22)

Haryana (Lalit 26, Sonu Kumar 20) bt Rajasthan (Mahipal Singh 34, Akhilesh Kumar Tudu 20) 105-103 (22-24, 20-16, 20-19, 25-28, Extra time 18-16)

Loser Knockout Final:

Odisha (Suman 23, Sharan 11) bt Himachal Pradesh (Sawan 20, Kesav 14, Dhruv 10) 68-65 (14-27, 13-10, 20-6, 21-22)

Results from Day 7 up to 6 pm

SEMIFINALS:

Girls:

Chhattisgarh (Vandana 23, Jonali Dutta 12, Riya 12) bt Punjab (Gagandeep Kaur 17, Sandhya Kumari 8) 78-49 (13-9, 21-15, 18-12, 26-13)

Karnataka (Bhoomika P. 21, Bhandavya Mahesha 19, Priyanka P. 16) bt Kerala (Mayukha 17, Kavitha 13, Nivyaraj P.P. 9) 76-66 (18-21, 18-11, 23-17, 17-17)

Boys:

Tamil Nadu (R. Hari Ram 35, P. Baladhaneshwar 20, S. Kalidas 19) bt Haryana (Sonu Kumar 20, Deepak (jersey no. 14) 18, Sonu Kumar 13) 99-85 (22-22, 21-21, 20-24, 36-18)

Punjab (Dilpreet 21, Swapnil Sharma 14, Jaipal Singh Mann 10) bt Delhi (Sunil Kumar 32, Erash Hooda 17, Sombir 12) 85-74 (13-20, 23-17, 19-19, 30-18)

PLACEMENT MATCHES

Girls:

9th and 10th place classification:

Madhya Pradesh (Sakshi 28, Shivangi 17) bt Rajasthan (Kamlesh 28, Anushree 8) 76-61 (18-19, 17-13, 21-16, 20-13)

Classification for 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th places:

Tamil Nadu (S. Gayathri 12) bt Maharashtra (Swapnali 12) 47-16 (22-0, 6-8, 13-6, 6-2)

5th and 6th place:

Maharashtra (Shreya 25, Suyosha 18) bt Haryana (Surya 19, Bharti 14, Namrata 13) 69-56 (12-9, 18-21, 16-15, 23-11)

7th and 8th place:

Tamil Nadu (V. Srividhya 19, S. Gayathri 13, Srishti Suren 8) bt Uttar Pradesh (Vaishnavi Yadav 20, Anjana Singh 6) 57-39 (18-16, 17-12, 7-2, 15-9)

Boys:

Classification for 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th places:

Kerala (in red) and Chandigarh (in blue) players in action

Kerala (in red) and Chandigarh (in blue) players in action

Kerala (Antony 23, Sugeeth 12, Akhil 11) bt Chandigarh (Abhishek (captain) 18, Ahishek 10, Jatin 9) 80-51 (19-12, 27-15, 17-18, 17-6)

Maharashtra (Nahata 12, Sayyad 12) bt Rajasthan (Mohd. 14, Devesh 10) 52-48 (9-15, 12-15, 12-10, 19-8)

9th and 10th place classification:

Madhya Pradesh (Mithun Das 14, Ashish 14, Gautam 14) bt Uttar Pradesh (Shivam 25, Ashwani 11, Deepak 10) 99-97 (24-22, 15-25, 20-22, 31-21, Extra time 9-7)

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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