Abhishek Singh powered Uttar Pradesh to an 81-67 victory over the defending champion Punjab in a group ‘A' league match of the boys' section in the IMG Reliance junior National basketball championship at the Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
In a match of fluctuating fortunes, in which the fighting spirit of Uttar Pradesh came to the fore at the crunch, Abhishek top-scored with 33 points.
Though it was Uttar Pradesh that led 41-32 at halftime, Punjab fought back to be on par at 53-53 at the end of the third quarter. However, with two of its key players, Satnam Singh and Baljeet Singh out with five fouls, Punjab struggled but it managed to hold a 57-54 lead.
It was here that Anshuman Singh and Rana Vikram Singh combind well with Abhishek to tilt the balance in favour of Uttar Pradesh, which incidentally had lost to Kerala earlier.
Tamil Nadu boys recovered some ground with a victory over Andhra Pradesh, after having lost a close match on the opening day to Madhya Pradesh. The latter consolidated its position as it attacked in the second half to tame Maharashtra for its second victory in group ‘B'.
In the girls' section, there was a scare for defending champion Kerala, but with P. S. Jeena and K. S. Pooja Mol pulling their weight, Kerala bounced back from being 14-26 in the first quarter to take a 43-32 lead at halftime.
Karnataka, spearheaded by P. V. Navaneetha, led 55-51 at the end of the third quarter, but Kerala was too smart in the finish, as Jeena and Pooja Mol accounted for 17 of the 25 points in the last quarter.
Orissa girls did all the hard work, but Maharashtra had the last laugh as Namasvi Ajmera beat the hooter with a two-pointer for a memorable 58-57 victory.
The results (league):
Boys: Group A: Uttar Pradesh 81 (Abhishek Singh 33, Rana Vikram Singh 19, Anshuman Singh 13) bt Punjab 67 (Sunil Bajaj 13, Satnam Singh 12, Baljeet Singh 10, Harmandeep Singh 10). Group B: Tamil Nadu 89 (M. Kasirajan 26, G. Sivabalan 20, U. Kumaran 11) bt Andhra Pradesh 49 (G. Venkata Reddy 14, Vaddadi Nagur Babu 13, B. Shehansha 12); Madhya Pradesh 77 (Kirti Goswami 21, Siddharth Singh Chowhan 18, Amit Kanarjee 13) bt Maharashtra 56 (Nitin Arun Chopade 17, Fardeen Fazal Khan 10, Parth Naresh Vipani 10); Madhya Pradesh 81 (Siddharth Singh Chowhan 24, Ankit Singh Parihar 24, Amit Kanarjee 14) bt Tamil Nadu 78 (G. Sivabalan 22, M. Kasirajan 20, A. Arvind 20, S. Karthikeyan 10).
Girls: Group A: Kerala 76 (P. S. Jeena 19, P. R. Surya 16, K. S. Pooja Mol 16, Angeleena Joy 12) bt Karnataka 65 (P. V. Navaneetha 20, Sagarika Shyam 13); Chhattisgarh 82 (Anjana Daisy Ekka 26, Pushpa Nishad 14, Poonam Chaturvedi 14) bt Rajasthan 55 (Kamlesh Jat 28, Manisha Meena 18). Group B: Delhi 73 (Shivangi Sarda 18, Neha Josshi 15, Varsha Verma 13, R. Padmavathy 12) bt Uttar Pradesh 55 (Barkha Sonkar 17, Radha Gour 15, Dhriti Arora 15); Maharashtra 58 (Kritika R. Divadkar 18, Namasvi A. Ajmera 10) bt Orissa 57 (Sitamani Tudu 30, Minakshi Karan 16); Uttar Pradesh 56 (Barkha Sonkar 26, Dhriti Arora 10) bt Orissa 48 (Sitamani Tudu 23, Minakshi Karan 15).