Karnataka shocks holders Tamil Nadu

It was a slightly shoddy first half display by Tamil Nadu that enabled Karnataka gain the early advantage. The Karnataka men were so quick on their feet that the former struggled to cut down on their speed.

The Karnataka defence stood strong against the experienced Tamil Nadu stars who struggled to reach the ring in the 69th senior National basketball championship at the Sidsar Sports Complex courts in Bhavnagar on Monday.   -  Special Arrangement

Anil Kumar (25 points) did the star turn as Karnataka rallied from a 14-point deficit to stun defending champion Tamil Nadu in a Group ‘A’ clash of the 69th Senior National basketball championship at the Sidsar Sports Complex courts here on Monday.

It was a slightly shoddy first half display by Tamil Nadu that enabled Karnataka gain the early advantage. The Karnataka men were so quick on their feet that the former struggled to cut down on their speed.

Karnataka also made some smart moves that came in handy. For every two-ball possession, its coach kept changing the defence pattern. And that confused the Tamil Nadu men while marching forward. The team also terribly missed the services of Rikin Pethani, who is expected to join the team midway through. It relied on P. Jeevanantham to do the job and he failed a bit. 

After being blown away in the first two quarters, Tamil Nadu shot back through Hariram (22 pts) and Sivabalan (14 pts) in the third session. Jeevanantham chipped in as well and the team climbed rather quickly to be back on track. It even managed to take the lead at 51-45 and one could see the smiles back on the Tamil Nadu camp.

But it was only for a short while as Karnataka came up with some clever changes yet again. It went full court press coupled with zone defence and that worked wonders. The team inched its way up slowly and steadily and was only two points away from pulling off a stunner.

The pressure was beginning to show on the Tamil Nadu players and the Karnataka men cashed in on the situation, shot two crucial baskets to complete a fine win.

Earlier, the Tamil Nadu women went down to holders Indian Railway 67-91. Kerala was also hot on Railway’s heels scoring their second straight win. It hammered a hapless Telangana 79-27.

 The results

Men: Group A: Karnataka 84 (Anil Kumar 25, A. Aravind 17, Abhishek Gowda 10, Rahul Sharath 10) bt Tamil Nadu 80 (R. Hariram 22, G. Sivabalan 14, Jeevanantham 14, Prasanna Venkatesh 11).

Group B: Indian Railway 76 (Rajan Sharma 24, Himanshu Sharma 21, Gagandeep Singh 12) bt Kerala 56 (Akhil 14, Jishnu G. Nair 14, Sejin Mathew10).

Group C: Mizoram 58 bt Goa 53.

Group D: Chhattisgarh 69 bt AP 54. HP 47 bt Manipur 39.

Group E: Haryana 67 bt Puducherry 54. J & K 61 bt WB 45.

Group F: MP 66 bt Tripura 49. UP bt Assam 25. Odisha 75 bt Jharkhand 54.

Women: Group A: Indian Railway 91 (Sruthi Menon 22, Sitamani Tudu 16, Raja Priyadarsini 15) bt Tamil Nadu 67 (S Pushpa 22, Dharshini 13, V. Srividya 10).

Group B: Kerala 79 (P.S. Jeena 14, Kavitha Jose 12, Aswathy Jayasankar 11, Stephy Nixon 10) bt Telangana 27. Chhattisgarh 84 (Poonam Chaturvedi 30, Akansha Singh 15) bt Maharashtra 60 (Mughha Amroaotkar 17, Shruti Sherikar 14, Anshika Kanojia 11). 

Group C: Punjab 73 bt Puducherry 26.

Group D: Odishsa 42 bt AP 28.