Defending champion Karnataka knocked out Punjab from the tournament in their quarterfinal clash in the girls section to enter the semi-finals of the 68th Junior National Basketball Championships at Noida yesterday.
Both teams remained within single digits for the first three quarters. But Karnataka switched to a higher gear in the fourth, led by Rajvi Jain who put up 16 points. They outscored Punjab 16 to 6 in the final period to clinch a 61-49 win and a place in the semifinals tomorrow.
Uttar Pradesh girls, buoyed by home support, came out firing against Rajasthan. Led by star performer, Vaishnavi Yadav’s 33 points, UP had a strong first quarter, outscoring Rajasthan 22 to 12. Despite a rocky middle period, UP managed to get back on track in the fourth to pull away for a 86-66 win. They will now have their quarterfinal game today evening against Chhattisgarh.
The UP boys, however, fell to Haryana 84-60. Haryana got off to a slow start, but dominated the rest of the three quarters. Rinku poured in 40 points for Haryana, facilitating the blowout win. Haryana will now face the Kerala boys in the quarters later today evening. In other pre-quarterfinal games, MP girls won an overtime thriller against Gujarat (79-70), dominating the overtime period 11 to 2. MP have now set up a quarterfinal clash against the undefeated Tamil Nadu girls.
The Delhi boys also made it to the quarters, beating MP boys 82-73.
Later in the morning, the quarterfinal games began with the Kerala girls knocking out Maharashtra with a 86-71 win. Kerala’s Sreekala, who is an up-and-coming star, scorched Maharashtra for 42 points, single-handedly carrying her team’s offense. It was cruise control for Kerala after the first quarter, leading the rest of the way and cementing a spot in the semi-finals tomorrow.
Defending champions Tamil Nadu boys also booked a semi-final berth with 83-66 win over Maharashtra.