Puducherry, May 1, 2016: The 67th Junior National Basketball Championship organised by the Puducherry District Basketball Association, under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), tipped off today morning at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium.
26 boys teams and 22 girls teams are participating this year, with matches being played on one indoor court and three outdoor courts. As is standard practice, the teams in both boys and girls section have been divided into two Levels- Level 1 (Groups A & B) and Level 2 (Groups C to F). The tournament is played on a league cum knockout basis, with as many as 128 matches played from early morning till late night. In the league stages, all teams within each group play against each other, and the top teams qualify to the knockout stages. For an in-depth understanding of the Championship format, click here.
Last year, Tamil Nadu in the boys section, and Chhattisgarh for the girls, were crowned champions.
Most of the opening matches were one sided, barring a Level 2 boys game where Mizoram beat Tripura by just one point. However, the games to watch out for were the highly anticipated post lunch clashes between defending champions Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu (women) and defending champions Tamil Nadu and Kerala (men).
Tamil Nadu at Crunch Time
Chhattisgarh beat Tamil Nadu (women)
From the get go both teams were aggressive and Tamil Nadu took an early lead in the first quarter, but Chhattisgarh came out strong in the second quarter and was able to wrest the lead. In the third quarter, Chhattisgarh continued its commanding ways, getting ahead by 15 points. Soon though, Tamil Nadu’s half court man to man pressure forced Chhattisgarh into committing turnovers. TN regained a 2 point lead with two minutes left for the final whistle, but Chhattisgarh came back and equalized the game with 60 seconds left. Chhattisgarh played near flawless defense in the last minute to contain their opponents, but a minor mistake gave Tamil Nadu an offensive rebound and a chance to take the lead again. Unfortunately, the pressure got to Tamil Nadu as they were unable to convert two free throws. Chhattisgarh regained possession with only seconds to go for the final whistle and was able to split a pair and hang on to the lead till the final whistle.
Kerala beat Tamil Nadu (men)
The game started off with slow as Tamil Nadu gained an early lead. Not far behind though, Kerala came back strong to lead 15-13 at the end of the first quarter. With the lead continuously changing, it was anyone’s game to win, as both teams were effective at the offensive end but fell short in communicating on defense. Till the last second the teams were neck to neck, as they were tied at 81 with 48 seconds left on the game clock. Kerala’s Prem Prakash used his length to intercept a loose ball and converted on a game winning fast break. Tamil Nadu had a chance to tie the game with two free throws at the final whistle, but unfortunately Hari Ram failed to connect.
Results of Day 1 up to 5:00 pm*
*Please note that the Punjab vs Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh vs Telangana boys games have been postponed to 3rd May.
- Rajasthan 56 (M. Aly 24, S Kumar 10) bt Uttar Pradesh 46(Lav Singh 14, Dheeraj 12) [12-16, 13-12, 21-11, 10-7]
- Kerala 83 (Muhamed Siras 24, Hari Krishnan 12) bt Tamil Nadu 81(Hari Ram 22, Bala Dhaneshwar 14, Pradeep Kumar 12) [15-13, 18-22, 25-22, 25-24]
- Kerala 45 (Niuya Raj 12, Nimmi George 10) bt Uttar Pradesh 12 (Shreyasi Vats 7) [12-3, 5-3, 11-2, 17-4]
- Karnataka 69 (Bhandavya 13, Bhoomika 10) bt Rajasthan 20(Asha Nayak 5) [20-10, 13-2, 20-7, 16-1]
- Chhattisgarh 59 (Vandana 19, Riya 16, Mahina 12) bt Tamil Nadu 58(Ishwarya 17, Nishanti 13, Ria Sharon 8) [14-18, 14-7, 20-17, 11-16]
- Haryana 65 (Surya 18, Namraj 16) btMadhya Pradesh 53(Sakshi P 22) [13-8, 11-12, 20-16, 21-17
- Mizoram 65 (Lalfakzula 34) bt Tripura 53(Akshay 27) [13-21, 20-22, 17-14, 25-17]
- Himachal Pradesh 53 (Sonika 21, Vishali 7) bt Andhra Pradesh 30 (N. Padmavathi 11, N. Saroja 8) [15-8, 6-12, 12-8, 20-10]
- Telangana 44 (Natasha 15, Nuthana 11) bt Bihar 14(Kajul Singh 4) [16-0, 5-0, 15-8, 8-6]
- Goa 52 (Amisha 28, Rachel 18) bt Jharkhand 21 (Alka 7, Riya 6) [10-6, 14-2, 8-8, 20-5]
About the 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 of Indian basketball in 1950. Prior to that, the Indian Olympic Association handled the organizing 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, 17 among them have been bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna Award. 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