Ludhiana, Punjab, 7th October 2015: The last day of the group stages at the 66th Junior National Basketball Championship at Ludhiana, Punjab produced two stellar boys’ matches in the late evening. The Maharashtra boys took on home team Punjab in their last league game. For the first time in the tournament, the Punjab boys were on the backfoot. Maharashtra’s point guard Sameer Qureshi controlled the tempo of the game beautifully and put his teammates in positions to score. Punjab had a poor first half and could not recover in the second. The play of Maharashtra’s big man Tavish was impressive against the big Punjab lineup. He top scored for his team with 17 points. In the end, Maharashtra pulled off a 73-66 victory and advanced to the quarterfinals to face Tamil Nadu.
The final match of Day 5 was a high-scoring contest between two of the best teams in the tournament. Delhi and Tamil Nadu took on each other in the last league stage game. Tamil Nadu started the game hot, scoring 32 points in the first quarter itself. But Delhi maintained their composure to fight their way back into the contest. Led by former Junior India player Sunil Kumar and their centre Vishal Kumar Gupta, Delhi got their shots going from the inside and outside. Sunil scored 38 points in the game and Vishal put in 29 points to give Delhi the edge. Both teams broke the 100-point barrier, with Delhi scoring a tournament-high 110 points to clinch the victory.
Day 6 had the pre-quarterfinals and quarterfinals in store. Home team Punjab boys bounced back from the loss yesterday evening to beat Kerala in their quarterfinal match. The first half of the game was an even contest and Kerala even took a slim lead in the third quarter. But the fourth quarter belonged to Punjab as they outscored Kerala 36-16. Rahul Mehla scored a game-high 27 points to lead his team to the win.
The Punjab girls team also advanced to the semis defeating Uttar Pradesh in their quarterfinal game. The game had a similar story as the Punjab boys’ quarterfinal, with the match being close for the first three quarters. But come the fourth quarter, Punjab girls switched to a higher gear and ran away with the game. Gagandeep Kaur scored 22 points for her team as Punjab registered a 67-54 victory.
Tamil Nadu boys have also booked a semi-final berth with a victory against the Maharashtra boys’ team. Maharashtra could not produce at the same level as they did yesterday evening. Tamil Nadu shot at the rate of 52% from the field and their efficient offense gave them the advantage. R. Hari Ram had a huge game with 34 points and 10 rebounds. Tamil Nadu centre Surya dominated in the paint and ended up scoring a double-double with 29 points and 12 rebounds.
The Maharashtra girls also ended their campaign in the tournament with a loss in the quarterfinal at the hands of Karnataka. Karnataka made short work of their opponent led by their most consistent players Bhandavya and Bhoomika. Maharashtra was not able to keep up with the Karnataka offense and the game ended with Karnataka clinching a 60-34 victory to advance to the semis.
Tamil Nadu and Haryana girls won their pre-quarterfinal matches against Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan respectively to advance to the quarterfinals scheduled for later in the day. The Haryana and Chandigarh boys also made it to the quarterfinals beating Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh respectively.
Later in the evening, Tamil Nadu girls, who advanced from Level 2 to Level 1, faced an unbeaten Kerala side in the quarterfinals. But a tired Tamil Nadu side failed to advance to the next round. Kerala started the game strong on a balanced team scoring effort and withstood a furious comeback attempt by the Tamil Nadu girls to clinch a semi-final spot.
Defending champions Chhattisgarh girls also booked a date in the semi-finals tomorrow defeating an undersized Haryana side. Haryana stuck to its small ball approach, but the size and speed of the Chhattisgarh team was too much to handle. Chhattisgarh captain Riya Verma scored 26 points in the victory.
Results from Day 5 after 6:30 pm
Maharashtra (Tavish 17, Sufiyan 17, Ashraf 13) bt Punjab (Rahul Mehla 19, Sahil 16) 73-66 (23-19, 21-13, 15-18, 14-16)
Delhi (Sunil Kumar 38, Vishal Kumar Gupta 29) bt Tamil Nadu (R. Hari Ram 23, P. Baladhaneshwar 23, Dhimant Sahi 15) 110-102 (23-32, 30-18, 33-27, 24-25)
Loser Knockout Semifinals:
Odisha (Suman Kumar 12) bt West Bengal (Arka Saha 9) 46-24 (18-10, 13-5, 8-2, 7-7)
Results from Day 6 up to 7 pm
Punjab (Gagandeep Kaur 22, Somi Kumari 20) bt Uttar Pradesh (Vaishnavi Yadav 20, Bhavya Tyagi 11) 67-54 (20-11, 6-11, 16-21, 25-11)
Karnataka (Bhandavya HM 25, Bhoomika P. 19) bt Maharashtra (Carina Clarence 11) 60-34 (17-9, 9-5, 16-5, 18-15)
Kerala (Amritha 14, Kavitha 10, Mayukha 8) bt Tamil Nadu (S. Gayathri 13, M. Nishanthi 12) 81-70 (23-17, 26-17, 17-16, 15-20)
Chhattisgarh (Riya Verma 26, Vandana 16) bt Haryana (Surya 13, Bharti 6) 61-31 (20-12, 14-5, 16-8, 11-6)
Tamil Nadu (V. Srividhya 36, K. Prithi 7) bt Madhya Pradesh (Sakshi Pandey 39, Shivangi Usrite 13, Anubha Thakur 13) 78-71 (20-20, 15-10, 18-24, 25-17)
Haryana (Surya 17, Namrata 14, Garima 12) bt Rajasthan (Kamlesh 22, Pratibha 5) 51-40 (21-9, 12-6, 8-4, 10-21)
Loser Knockout Final:
Gujarat (Arti Godhani 17, Daxa Vaghjiyani 17, RA Dubey 11) bt Himachal Pradesh (Aarushi Sharma 14, Vaishali 10, Monica Devi 6) 47-39 (12-6, 6-9, 14-9, 15-15)
Level 1 to Level 2:
Delhi (Pallavi Kumari 22, Raginee Jha 12) bt West Bengal (Paulami 10, Diya 8) 51-33 (11-6, 7-7, 12-10, 21-10)
Punjab (Rahul Mehla 27, Sahil 17, Ajit Poonia 17) bt Kerala (Akhil 23, Antony 13, Sugeeth 11) 90-73 (21-18, 18-21, 15-18, 36-16)
Tamil Nadu (R. Hariram 34, A. Daniel Richards 28, P. Baladhaneshwar 15) bt Maharashtra (Sayyed Mohd. Yousuf Asif 29, Mogradia Sufiyan Umer 16) 99-82 (26-22, 23-28, 24-15, 26-17)
Haryana (Deepak (jersey no. 15) 30, Sonu 23) bt Uttar Pradesh (Ashwini 10, Shivan 10) 76-50 (18-15, 21-12, 18-13, 19-10)
Chandigarh (Abhishek 25, Amit 18, Abhishek Choudhary 18) bt Madhya Pradesh (Mahank 13, Gautam 12, Mithun Das 11) 68-56 (9-14, 19-6, 15-14, 25-22)
Level 1 to Level 2:
Karnataka (Pranay 25, Karthik Baji 11) bt Andhra Pradesh (Naveen Sagar 12, Siva Durga Prasad 7) 55-37 (12-18, 21-2, 10-5, 12-12)
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