Reigning champion Thiruvananthapuram showed its class as it thrashed Kollam 64-30 and entered the men's semifinals of the State senior basketball championship here on Monday.
The boys from the capital were too quick, too organised and just too good for Kollam. Vijobi Vakkachan spearheaded the defending champion's charge. He top-scored with 19 points.
There were good contributions from V.G. Ajith (16) and Rahul Krishna (14). Thiruvananthapuram was also well served by feeder K.R. Nikhil and Ajeeth Sugunan, who excelled in rebounds.
Earlier, Thrissur also made it to the last four, beating Kozhikode 63-43. It was a match between Thrissur's experience and Kozhikode's youth. Kozhikode went into early lead and led till the stroke of the opening quarter. It took a fast break from Priyesh Jacob to level the score for Thrissur at 18-18.
In the remainder of the game though, Thrissur showed there was no substitute for experience. And fittingly, it was its most experienced campaigner, Subhash J. Shenoy who shone the brightest. He was there only for the first two periods, but that was enough to shut Kollam out of the match. He scored 16 points and was particularly impressive at defensive rebounds. Priyesh was the top-scorer with 21 points.
In the women's event, Kottayam entered the semifinals, beating Thrissur 57-38.
On Sunday, women's defending champion Thiruvananthapuram won its final league against Kollam 65-60 and moved into the semifinals on account of topping Pool ‘A'.
The results: Quarterfinals: Men: Thiruvananthapuram 64 (Vijobi Vakkachan 19, V.G. Ajith 16, Rahul Krishna 14) bt Kollam 30 (C.V. Ratheesh 15).
Thrissur 63 bt Kozhikode 43 (Priyesh Jacob 21, Subhash J. Shenoy 16).
Preliminary league: Pool ‘B': Ernakulam 49 (R. Manoj 18, Shinumon Augustin 10) bt Palakkad 39 (Geo Johny 15).
Women: Kottayam 57 (Asha Abraham 12, Stephy Nixon 10, Anila Augustin 10) bt Thrissur 38 (Reshma 11, Anu Mathew 11).
Pool ‘A': Thiruvananthapuram 65 (S.S. Anjana 32, Lizy Mathew 10) bt Kollam 60 (Kenny Susan Lalu 16, M.J. Libina 10, P.G. Anjana 10). Pool 'C': Ernakulam 43 (M.D. Lisha 13) bt Kottayam 39 (M. Athira 12) . — Principal Correspondent