Mysuru, Jan 10 (IANS) Strong title contenders Tamil Nadu rode on a powerful performance from Aravind Annadurai to defeat formidable Services 61-40 in the level one men’s category at the 66th Senior National Basketball Championship here on Sunday. Aravind, who is fast becoming a rising star in the Indian basketball circuit, spearheaded the Tamil Nadu challenge with 24 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Rikin (15 points), Pratham Singh (11) and Prasanna (11) also played well as the southern outfit made a huge statement in the tournament by overcoming the dangerous Services team. India international Narendar Grewal was the highest scorer for Services with 16 points. S.M. Setu (14), Ashutosh Rai (10) were the other scorers for the armymen. In another level one match, former champions Kerala beat Telangana 81-58. R. Manoj was Kerala’s highest scorer with 19 points. He was ably supported by Philip Basil (12), Pereira Eduric (12) and Wilson Monish (11). Boom M. David (13), Nihal Singh Yadav (10) and Reddy Ambati (8) did well for Telangana.
Kerala took a 19-14 in the opening quarter and maintained their domination for most of the match. The Telengana boys tried to stage a fightback in the final quarter and outscored their opponents 14-16, but it was not enough. In the level two men’s section, Maharashtra came back from behind to steal an 88-80 victory against Uttar Pradesh and enter the pre-quarterfinals. Edwin Irvin top scored with 18 points for Maharashtra. In other level two games, Chhattisgarh easily defeated Odisha 73-48, while Rajasthan got the better of Himachal Pradesh 84-59. In the women’s section, Indian Railways registered an easy 72-26 win against Punjab in a level one tie.
Forward Rajapriyadarshini top scored for the Railways with 15 points in a balanced team scoring effort. Railways took the upper hand right at the start, taking a 46-9 lead by the halfway stage. Punjab never recovered from that, despite outscoring their fancied opponents in the third quarter. Chhattisgarh meanwhile, defeated Madhya Pradesh 84-60. Madhya Pradesh put up a tough fight for most of the game before Chhattisgarh stamped their domination in the last quarter. In women’s level two games, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal registered one-sided victories against Tripura and Gujarat respectively.