Kerala girls beat TN, regain crown

Haryana boys clinch the title after a tough fight against Kerala

Haryana and Kerala clinched the boys’ and girls’ titles in the 36th Youth National basketball championship at the PSG Tech Indoor Stadium courts here on Tuesday.

The Kerala girls upset the calculation of the host State 80-69 to regain the title that they last won in 2013.

But the Kerala boys, after putting up stupendous show for most part, went down fighting to Haryana 81-74.

Failing to step up

Earlier, Tamil Nadu failed to step up in the first three quarters. Its defence went awry and the visitor capitalised on it to take a 41-27 lead going into the final session.

The road to recovery seemed long and hopeless and, it looked the former would go down without a fight.

But the host girls, who played the 2-3 zone defence, had other ideas.

They knew it was now or never and applied the full court pressure. The Kerala girls found it pretty hot at this juncture.

Their dribbling and passing turned scratchy and baskets were hard to come by but, the team hung on.

Smart move

From a 16-point deficit, Tamil Nadu shot back with a string of three-pointers to bring the game back to life.

It was only two points (64-62) that separated the teams and, the Kerala coach V.M. Prem Kumar called for a time-out and made some quick changes.

It was a smart move and good enough to put the team back on the victory track. Ann Mary Zacharia (40 pts), who was declared the best player, was the architect of the team’s victory.

“She is a junior India star and the backbone of our team. We made the workouts around her. The team fed maximum balls to her and made our opponent commit fouls,” said Prem.

Tamil Nadu committed as many as 30 fouls and that proved to be costly towards the end.

The results:

Boys: Final: Boys: Haryana 81 (Sahil 39, Akshay 17) bt Kerala 74 (Pranav Prince 19, Jim Paul Kothulil 19). Third place: Rajasthan 92 (Digvijay Singh 36, Amendra 23) bt Karnataka 68 (Achintya 38, Manoj 18). Best player: Sahil Taya (Haryana).

Girls: Final: Kerala 80 (Ann Mary Zacharia 40, Ashlin Shiju 11) bt Tamil Nadu 69 (Sathya 31, Sandhiya 10). Third place: Rajasthan 48 (Rashi Khotani 11, Riya Thivari 11, Manvi Srivastava 18) bt Punjab 47 (Harsimran Kaur 29). Best player: Ann Mary Zacharia (Kerala).

Promising youngster: Sathya (TN).

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