It was celebration first and victory later as Tamil Nadu handled a gripping climax with competence to beat Railways 22-20 in extra-time in the men’s final of the inaugural National basketball 3x3 championship at the Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu celebrated prematurely on scoring a two-pointer that was rightly disallowed as the attempt was made after the 12-second clock had run out of time.
Even though it was Pratham Singh’s throw which was disallowed, he was quite composed while converting two free-throws in extra-time to clinch victory for Tamil Nadu.
Railways may have felt robbed as its livewire Prakash Mishra had pounced on the ball with the team leading 20-19 and scored a point as well.
After a long deliberation, the technical bench resumed the match with Railways ahead 20-19 before Pratham was on target with a free throw to force extra-time. With the rule specifying that the first team to reach two points will be the winner, Tamil Nadu shrugged off its nerves to clinch the issue.
It was a brave fight by Railways which trailed 7-13 at one stage before equalising at 16. A clutch of two-pointers from Prakash Mishra and Arjun Singh made it a memorable contest for the big crowd.
In the women’s final, however, Railways was the undisputed champion, as Geethu Anna Jose and P. Anitha who had figured in the Indian team which won the Asian Beach Games last year, propelled the team with power and poise against Delhi.
Their efforts were complemented by Manisha Dange, who played with confidence, and even scored a point with more than a minute and a half to spare to win 21-12. Raspreet Sidhu stood out for Delhi.
The winners were presented with a cash prize of Rs. 1,01,000 while the runners-up took home Rs. 30,000. The third-placed teams collected Rs. 20,000 each.
Men (final): Tamil Nadu 22 (Pratham Singh 11, Rikin Pethani 8) bt Railways 20 (Prakash Mishra 9, Arjun Singh 6, Gagandeep Singh 4).
Third place: Uttarakhand 21 (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 10, Yadwinder Singh 6, Amritpal Singh 5) bt Kerala 13 (R. Manoj 6, Subhash Shenoy 5).
Semifinals: Railways 18 (Gagandeep 7, Arjun 6, Prakash Mishra 4) bt Kerala 12 (R. Manoj 7, Subhash 5); Tamil Nadu 14 (Pratham 8, Pethani 5) bt Uttarakhand 11 (Bhriguvanshi 5, Yadwinder 4).
Quarterfinals: Kerala 20 (Subhash 13) bt Delhi 18 (Narender Grewal 15); Tamil Nadu 22 (Pratham 7) bt Jammu & Kashmir 7 (Surender 4); Railways 21 (Prakash 10) bt Chhattisgarh 20 (Shrawat Kumar 11); Uttarakhand 21 (Bhriguvanshi 7) bt Karnataka 10 (Rajesh Uppar 4).
Pre-quarterfinals: Karnataka 20 (Sanjay Raj 8) bt Uttar Pradesh 11 (Ankur Anand 5); Delhi 21 (Narender 12) bt Punjab 18 (Ranbir Singh 10).
Women (final): Railways 21 (Manisha Dange 8, Geethu Anna Jose 7, P. Anitha 6) bt Delhi 12 (Raspreet Sidhu 7, Prashanti Singh 4).
Third place: Maharashtra 19 (Shireen Limaye 7, Aishwarya Shetty 6, Amruta Bhuskute 6) bt Punjab 10 (Kiranjit Kaur 5, Kajal Rani 4).
Semifinals: Delhi 16 (Pratima Singh 6, Prashanti 5, Raspreet 4) bt Maharashtra 13 (Amruta 6, Larissa Fernandes 4, Shireen 3); Railways 21 (Geethu 12, S. Kokila 6) bt Punjab 8 (Preeti Rani 6).
Quarterfinals: Maharashtra 21 (Amruta 8) bt Haryana 5 (Salma Devi 3); Delhi 21 (Raspreet 7) bt Tamil Nadu 16 (Raja Priyadarshini 7); Punjab 12 (Preeti 8) bt Chhattisgarh 11 (Sharanjeet Kaur 7); Railways 21 (Geethu 14) bt Rajasthan 6 (Nisha Sharma 4).