Indian Railways edges out Chhattisgarh

Railways remained unfazed as it relied on its set pattern and admirable speed to beat an opponent, who had none other than Poonam to convert at regular intervals. Railways won 71-68 in the 67th Senior National basketball championships here on Monday.

Railways remained unfazed as it relied on its set pattern and admirable speed throughout the match.   -  s. s. kumar

It was billed as a precursor to the final and it remained that way till the end.

The women’s Group A tie between defending champion Indian Railways and Chhattisgarh went to the wire with the former emerging triumphant 71-68 at the 67th senior National basketball championships here on Monday.

Later, Kerala made mincemeat of Delhi’s defence during its 62-40 victory in a women’s Group B tie for its third straight win.

Chhattisgarh relies heavily on the 6’11” tall Poonam Chaturvedi. Though not the best of the movers on court, once she has the ball in her hands, none could come close to touching even her fingers. The 20-year-old fumbled on and off with her shooting, but did what was expected of her. Her second successive match tally of 40 or more points showed the team’s dependence on her.

Railways remained unfazed as it counted on its set pattern and admirable speed to beat an opponent which had to thank Poonam for converting at regular intervals. On the other hand, it was an out and out team-effort from Railways.

Trailing by a point at 69-68 with less than eight seconds remaining, Poonam was adjudged to be obstructing when she was getting ready at her end. Sitamani Tudu gleefully converted the two free throws for a morale-boosting win for the 27-time champion.

Under-achiever

The Kerala women’s team has been an under-achiever at the Nationals. It has won the title only once and emerged runner-up seven times. This time around, it looks well-settled though there is scope for improvement in the area of shooting. During the 80-44 win over Delhi, last year’s finalist Kerala has showed it can challenge the might of Railways and Chhattisgarh.

After dominating the first quarter, Kerala continued to show no mercy in the next too and scored 25 points to Delhi’s three. Jenny was outstanding in steals and shooting in the second for Kerala.

In the men’s section, eight-time champion Punjab suffered its second successive defeat, this time to Kerala 88-77 in a Group A match. Albin Baby and Akhil scripted Kerala’s victory. While Akhil scored heavily with his drive-ins, Albin sizzled with his timely three-pointers.

Karnataka topped Group A with an all-win record, the 76-73 win over Haryana being the icing on the cake.

The results: Men: Level-I: Group-A: Karnataka 76 (Anil Kumar 26, Rajesh Uppar 14, Naveen 13, A. Aravind 12) bt Haryana 73 (Pardeep 24, Vikas Mor 16, Naveen 15); Kerala 88 (A.R. Akhil 29, Albin Baby 20) bt Punjab 77 (Gurvinder Singh 22, Arshpreet Singh 19, Talwinder Singh 16); B: Indian Railways 64 (Palpreet Singh 30) bt Chhattisgarh 53 (M. Rudraksh 22).

Women: Level 1: Group A: Indian Railways 71 (Madhu Kumari 20, Sitamani Tudu 14, R. Rajapriyadharshini 14, P. Anitha 11) bt Chhattisgarh 68 (Poonam Chaturvedi 42, Sharanjeet Kaur 17); B: Kerala 80 (P.S. Jeena 22, P.G. Anjana 12, Rojamol 11) bt Delhi (Raspreet Sidhu 29) 44.