Defending champs Chhattisgarh fall short to Telangana

Chhattisgarh’s belief that star player Poonam Chaturvedi can single-handedly guide the side to victory did not bear fruit, with the defending champion falling short against Telangana here on Tuesday.

Poonam scored 46 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, but this exceptional return could not prevent the side from losing their second of four league engagements.

Chhattisgarh’s belief that star player Poonam Chaturvedi can single-handedly guide the side to victory did not bear fruit, with the defending champion falling short against Telangana here on Tuesday.

In the women’s section of the Senior national basketball championship, the 6’9” Poonam scored 46 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, but this exceptional return could not prevent the side from losing their second of four league engagements. Poonam took nearly half of Chhattisgarh’s field-goal attempts, and converted at an impressive rate. However, her teammates - with the exception of Saranjeet Kaur (18 pts) - failed to provide adequate support.

Telangana, on the other hand, spread the ball around judiciously. Forward P. Divya (23 pts), guard Aishwarya Nataraj (18 pts) and centre Anusha Anto (19 pts, 14 pts) all played their part to take the outfit to a third-straight win. Telangana and Chhattisgarh both advanced to the quarterfinal stage, with Kerala also booking a knockout spot from this Group ‘A’.

Among the men, title-holder Uttarakhand thumped Haryana 83-55 in a one-sided affair. The trusted trio of Murali Krishna, Trideep Rai and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi ran circles around Haryana, which fell out of contention after a dismal second-quarter.

Among the lower-rated Level 2 teams, Rajasthan and West Bengal emerged on top in the women’s section, and will face the fourth-placed units from Level 1 in the pre-quarterfinal round.

The results:

Level 1:

Men: Railways 94 (S. Somvier 21, Raj Kalbhor 15, Ajay Pratap Singh 14) bt Telangana 53 (N. Harish 13, David Boon 12, Ambati Prudhvi Reddy 12); Uttarakhand 83 (Murali Krishna 24, Trideep Rai 18, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 11) bt Haryana 55 (N. Narendran 16); Punjab 99 (T.J. Sahi 24, Ranbir Singh 17, Gagandeep Singh 16) bt Delhi 89 (Parvin Dovan 27, Gopal Ram 27, Sachin Sharma 15).

Women: Railways 83 (Appoorva Muralinath 20, Anitha Paul Durai 14, Sitamani Tudu 10) bt Delhi 33 (Pratima Singh 9); Telangana 79 (P. Divya 23, Anusha Anto 19, Aishwarya Nataraj 18) bt Chhattisgarh 72 (Poonam Chaturvedi 46, Saranjeet Kaur 18); Kerala 65 (P.S. Jeena 25, P.G. Anjana 13, Stephy Nixon 11) bt Maharashtra 35 (Manisha Dange 17, Shireen Limaye 13).

Qualifying matches (for Level 2 teams):

Men: Gujarat 75 (Dishant Shah 19, Vinay Kaushik 12, Harpal 11) bt Rajasthan 56 (Kamran Khan 23, Saurabh Badaya 14).

Women: Rajasthan 77 (Nisha 29, Surya 13, Kumud 12) bt Uttar Pradesh 67 (Vaishnavi Yadav 28, Shivani 12); West Bengal 76 (Madhu Kumari 24, Anjana Dezy 17, Libin 17) bt Odisha 52 (Suvanki 18, Rajashree 12, Jayashree 12).