Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra entered the girls' final of the 63rd National junior basketball championship here on Tuesday.
Chhattisgarh shocked defending champion Kerala 83-71 in the first semifinal. Chhattisgarh started well and opened up a 15-10 lead midway through the first quarter. But Kerala bounced back and gained a one-point lead at the end of the session. The Kerala cagers struggled in the early part of the second quarter and were down 24-30 at one stage. However, they regrouped quickly and reduced the deficit to just a point (38-39) at half-time.
Chhattisgarh hoopsters escalated the pace after the break and scored some lovely baskets. A six-point lead at the end of the third quarter boosted their confidence. Kerala girls missed quiet a few easy chances to score in the final session, which proved costly. Saramjeet Kaur (31 points) was the top scorer for the winner.
In the other semifinal, Maharashtra edged out Tamil Nadu 57-55. The TN girls, who trailed 27-32 at the halfway mark, staged a spirited fight back to level 45-all at the end of the third quarter. It was 55-55 in the dying minutes of the final session, when Shruti Menon scored to turn the match in favour of Maharashtra.
The results: Boys: Semifinals: Chhattisgarh 74 (Aakash Bhasin 21, Bobby Singh 11, Sameer Rai 11) bt Madhya Pradesh 60 (Amit Kanarjee 18, Anam Ali 10, Abdul Khan 10). Quarterfinals: Punjab 70 (Loveneet Sigh 27, Kushmeet Singh 14) bt Delhi 54 (Pankaj 17, Rakesh 13).
Girls: Semifinals: Chhattisgarh 83 (Saramjeet Kaur 31, Sangeetha Kaur 17, Poonam Chaturvedi 16) bt Kerala 71 (Jeena 35, Grima Varghese 21, Anjana 15); Maharashtra 57 (Sneha Rajguru 15, Shruti Menon 11, Shreen Limaye 11) bt Tamil Nadu 55 (Raja Priyadarshini 21, Vyshali Kemkar 11).
Keywords: basketball championship