Ernakulam opened its campaign in the State senior basketball championship with an authoritative 79-36 win against Thrissur at the St. Mary's HSS courts here on Friday.

It was a performance worthy of a side that finished runner-up last year, as the Ernakulam men gave little room to an ageing Thrissur team. Thrissur did try to make a match of it in the opening period and its advantage in height seemed to have troubled Ernakulam early on.

But once Ernakulam found its rhythm, Thrissur could do little and just watch in despair as the lead widened. Ernakulam's strategy was to put pressure more from outside and, with men like R. Manoj and Monish Wilson doing excellent work, it paid off.

Abhilash in good nick

Eudrick Periera was a constant threat for Thrissur and T.S. Abhilash, who top-scored with 23 points, was also in good nick. For Thrissur, Priyesh Jacob was the highest scorer, with 13 points.

Thrissur was hardly in the picture as the game neared the half-way mark despite the best efforts from its senior players like Subhash J. Shenoy.

At the Pazhassi Raja College courts, Pulapally, the reigning champion Thiruvananthapuram also began brightly, with a 66-34 win over Alappuzha. K.R. Nikhil (18) and V.G. Ajith (12) did the bulk of the scoring for the winner.

The results (preliminary league): Men: Pool ‘A': Thiruvananthapuram 66 (K.R. Nikhil 18, V.G. Ajith 12) bt Alappuzha 34. Pool ‘B': Ernakulam 79 (T.S. Abhilash 23, R. Manoj 14, Eudrick Pereira 10). Pathanamthitta 60 (Ashin Xavier 22, Edwin 13) bt Palakkad 50 (Basil Philip 10). Pool ‘C': Kollam 50 (C.V. Ratheesh 14, Liju Raj 14) bt Malappuram 27 (Farshad 19). Pool ‘D': Kannur 66 (Shehazad Abdulla 16, Muzammil 15) bt Idukki 54 (Jaymon 16).

Women: Pool ‘B': Thrissur 25 bt Wayanad 11. Pool ‘C': Kottayam 35 bt Malappuram 24. Alappuzha 44 (Denny Raju 16) bt Malappuram 15 .

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