Poonam Chaturvedi’s towering presence under the basket proved decisive as she combined nicely with the speedy Seema Singh and Kavita in helping Chhattisgarh top women’s group ‘B’ with a 81-53 victory over Maharashtra in the IMG Reliance 63rd National basketball championship at the Guru Nanak Stadium here on Tuesday.

The 6’ 9’’ Poonam converted 12 of 17 attempts and had a 100 per cent strike rate with the free throws, as she collected 28 points for the team.

Seema scored 16 points and provided the thrust whenever Maharashtra threatened to bridge the gap to manageable proportions. Both were very good with the rebounds as well to ensure Chhattisgarh a smooth sail straight into the quarterfinals.

Shireen Limaye tried to bulldoze her way through for Maharashtra, and was quite energetic with the rebounds as well, but was unable to pull the team together for a more comprehensive challenge.

Maharashtra did stay close at 43-54 at the end of the third quarter, but Chhattisgarh pulled away in the last ten minutes.

While the toppers Railways and Chhattisgarh were placed straight into the quarterfinals, the fourth-placed teams were put in thepre-quarterfinals.

Tamil Nadu and Kerala won their last league matches against Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka respectively to set up a quarterfinal againsteach other in the men’s section. Interestingly, the Tamil Nadu and Kerala women also set up a quarterfinal clash against each other.

Karnataka which led 43-36 at halftime, suffered its fourth loss and got relegated to the lower league, along with Haryana.

Rajasthan men defeated Chhattisgarh 93-43 to top the lower league spread over four groups. Both the teams qualified for the pre-quarterfinals, and will play Andhra Pradesh and Delhi respectively.

Punjab and Uttarakhand topped their groups to make the quarterfinals.

Similarly, in the women’s section, West Bengal beat Madhya Pradesh 61-42 to top the lower league spread over three groups, and both the teams qualified to face Punjab and Karnataka in the pre-quarterfinals, and got promoted to the top league for the next season.

Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh were relegated to the lower league for the next season.

The results (league):

Men: Group A: Tamil Nadu 82 (Pratham Singh 14, Rikin Pethani 14, S. Ram Kumar 14, Hareesh Koroth 11) bt Andhra Pradesh 39 (Ramesh Kumar 12, Nihal Yadav 10).

Kerala 79 (Manoj 20, T. S. Abhilash 18, Eudric Pereira 14) bt Karnataka 67 (Jijin Joseph 19, Sanjay Roy 14, Sridhar 13); Services 83 (Dalip Kumar 24, Gopal Ram 21, Narender Grewal 11, Jairam Jat 10) bt Delhi 67 (Vinay Kaushik 18, Praveen Kumar 17).

Group B: Uttarakhand 88 (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 30, Mohit Bhandari 19, Murali Krishna 17, Trideep Rai 10) bt Railways 70 (Prakash Mishra 17, Gagandeep Singh 10, Sunil Kumar 10).

Women: Group A: Kerala 53 (P.S. Jeena 18) bt Uttar Pradesh 45 (Preeti Kumari 21); Delhi 82 (Raspreet Sidhu 18, Neha Joshi 15, Pratima Singh 14, Manauti Passi 12) bt Punjab 51 (Sushma Rani 15, Rajwinder Kaur 14).

Group B: Chhattisgarh 81 (Poonam Chaturvedi 28, Seema Singh 16, Aakansha Singh 11, Kavita 10) bt Maharashtra 53 (Anamika 13, Shireen Limaye 12, Renjusha Mathew 10).

Karnataka 66 (L.S. Savitha 21, P. Navaneetha 15) bt Andhra Pradesh 60 (M. Gayatri 22, Sofi Sam 18, Neethu Kumari 12).

  • Chhattisgarh, Railways enter quarterfinals

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