The Kerala girls retained the title for the fourth year running defeating Tamil Nadu 83-47 in the final of the 30 IMG Reliance National youth basketball championship at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

Delhi boys regained the title after a year when they tamed Rajasthan 79-77 in an exciting final. Both the winners led from the start to run out deserving winners.

The taller and faster Kerala girls held complete sway over the TN girls in the summit clash. Pivot K.T. Mayukha was outstanding under the boards while Vimmy Varkey was her usual self as play maker.

Poor rebound collection under the hoops and the failure of TN captain V. Srividhya and M. Surya Darshini to screen their opponents effectively enabled the defending champion coast to an easy victory.

In the boys final, Delhi’s shooting was accurate even under pressure. This made all the difference. Delhi and Rajasthan were tied 18-18 after the first quarter. The second quarter was very productive as both teams scored heavily with Delhi scoring 26 and Rajasthan 23. This gave Delhi a 44-41 lead at halftime.

Delhi pivots Arjun Pandit and Vishal Gupta were outstanding in rebound collection but the man who made the difference was Bitto with his play-making ability. Sunil responded well with good shooting.

Rajasthan too had a good ball-handler in Akhilesh Kumar but the two pivots Yogesh Kaneriya and Mohammad Ali were kept under check. Though Rajasthan fought till the end, especially in the final quarter, Delhi hung on to take the title.

India Nelson of Kerala and Sunil from Delhi grabbed the most valuable player award, instituted in memory of Harish Sharma, in the girls’ and boys’ sections respectively.

The winners received Rs. 70,000, the runners-up Rs. 50,000 and the third placed team Rs. 20,000.

The results: Boys: Final: Delhi 79 (Sunil 27, Bitto 23, Vishal Gupta 14, Arjun Pandit 10) bt Rajasthan 77 (Mahipal Singh 30, Yogesh Kaneriya 16, Akhilesh Kumar 15, M. Ali 12).

Third place: Punjab 93 (Rahul Mehla 26, Prabnoor Singh 19, Jaipal 17, Abhi 10) bt Haryana 47 (Sonu Kumar 16, Naveen Sheokhand 8).

Girls: Kerala 83 (Mayukha 17, Nimmy Mathew 15, Aneeta P.V. 15, India Nelson 15, Vimmy Varkey 13) bt Tamil Nadu 47 (V. Rachel 17, S. Sindhuja).

Third place: Chhattisgarh 82 (Riya Verma 28, Divya P. 26, Vandana Arya 14, Divya 10) bt Karnataka 73 (Lopamudra Thimmaiah 34, Bhandavya 28).

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