Junior Nationals: Punjab defeat Karnataka; American basketball coaches hold clinic
The round of group games at the Junior National Basketball Championship for Boys & Girls at the Thyagraj Stadium in New Delhi came to an end on the tournament’s fifth day. On Saturday, defending boys’ champion Punjab continued their improvement and witnessed a break-out game by young giant star, Satnam Singh Bhamara, to defeat Karnataka. On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of Indian coaches gathered at the Junior Nationals also got an opportunity to witness a Coaches’ Clinic held by Kenny Natt, Pete Gaudet, and Zak Penwell, the three American coaches who have been brought to India to lead the Indian National teams.
Since the tournament began, all eyes have been on the performance of Punjab’s 15-year-old basketball prodigy Satnam Singh Bhamara, the seven-foot-one youngster who has been training at the IMG Basketball Academy in Florida, USA, for the past year. After a few mediocre performances in Punjab’s first three games of the championships, Bhamara finally had a breakout on Saturday against Karnataka. Growing leaps and bounds in confidence, he finished in 24 points to dominate the game on both ends of the floor and on the glass.
Punjab held on to a steady lead for most of the game, and after a close third quarter, they slipped away in the fourth behind dominating play by Bhamara. He was aided by Punjab’s consistent performance Loveneet Singh, who poured in 21 points, Gauravdeep Singh (20), and Sunil Bajaj, who had 19. Punjab won the game 98-77 to take their group record to 3-1. For Karnataka, Karan Joshua scored 21 points and Yashash R added 17.
In another high scoring, high-octane affair, Rajasthan outlasted Kerala boys for a 93-80 victory. After a slow start to the game, with the score at 35-31 in Rajasthan’s favour at halftime, the offensive talents on both sides were let loose. Paced by MP Singh (23 points), Suresh Kumar Bijarnia (22), and Praveen Kumar Rai (16), Rajasthan poured in 58 points in the second half. Kerala – who had three scorers with 20 and more points – fell short in their bid for a comeback. Jose Kuriakose scored 27 points, Akhil Matthew Sunny had 25, and Tony K. Mathew added 20.
In girls’ action, Delhi continued their Jekyll and Hyde act, putting up a strong performance a few days after a disappointing loss. On Saturday, Delhi’s enforcer in the paint Neha Joshi dominated Orissa to score 18 points, and Varsha Verma added 17, to help Delhi cruise to an easy win, 70-37. For Orissa, Sitamani had 17 points.
Tamil Nadu, one of the strongest girls’ side in the tournament, finished with a perfect 4-0 record in the group stage after routing Maharashtra 92-60. TN had a confident start to the game, and although Maharashtra were able to keep the game within reach through the first three quarters, TN slipped away in the fourth, outscoring Maharashtra 34-16. Behind Raja Priyadharshini (17), TN secured a 92-60 win. Mamasvi A Ajmera had 17 points for Maharashtra.
India’s national team coaches Kenny Natt (Sr. Men’s Team), Pete Gaudet (Sr. Women’s Team), and Zak Penwell (Strength & Conditioning) held special clinics on Saturday afternoon for hundreds of attending coaches, managers, technical officials, and players. The domestic coaches listened intently and watched the drills, training, workout regimes, and tactics taught by the experienced American coaches. While Penwell spoke about the importance of doing squats for improving strength and agility of basketball players, Natt and Gaudet took the help of talented young players to show some of the drills they use in practice to help improve players’ work ethic and performance.
Tamil Nadu (Siva Balan.S 25, Kasi Ranjan.M 21, Gopal.V 17, Aravind.A 15) bt. Maharasthra(Chopade Nitin Arun 27, Vipani Parth Naresh 14) 103-74 (32-18, 19-15, 24-20, 28-21)
Chhattisgarh (Ajay Pratap Singh 32, B.Dinesh 16) bt. Madhya Pradesh (Ankit Singh Parihar 15, Siddarth Singh Chowhan 14, Amit Kanarjee 14) 71-59 (17-18, 8-9, 21-22, 25-10)
Punjab (Satnam Singh 24, Loveneet Singh 21, Gauravdeep Singh 20, Sunil Bajaj 19) bt. Karnataka(Karan Joshu A 21, Yashas.R 17, Micheal John 15) 98-77 (25-20, 21-16, 17-17, 35-24)
Rajasthan (M.P.Singh 23, Suresh Kumar Bijarniya 22, Praveen Kumar Rai 16, Sharad Dadhich 14, Darshan Singh Bais 10) bt. Kerala (Jose Kuriakose 27, Akhil Mathew Sunny 25, Tony K.Mathew 20)93-80 (15-11, 20-20, 24-20, 34-29)
Chhattisgarh (Anjana Dalsy Ekka 26, A.Kavita 20, Poonam Chaturvedi 10) bt. Punjab (Nagma Mirza 37, Kajal Rani 13, Harkiran Kaur Nain 11) 93-73 (28-16, 13-24, 29-16, 23-17)
Delhi (Neha Joshi 18, Varsha Verma 17, Padmavathy 10) bt. Orissa (Sitamani 19, Minakshi 12) 70-37 (12-9, 26-8, 14-13, 18-7)
Karnataka (Sagarika Shyam 20, Simonelle SD’Souza 19, Salma Bellappa 18, Navaneetha PU 14) bt. Rajasthan (Kamlesh Jat 22, Manish Meena 12) 88-49 (23-19, 23-13, 27-6, 15-11)
Tamil Nadu (Raja Priya Dharshini.R 17, Keerthi M. 15, Ramya R. 13, Kirijthika V. 12) bt. Maharashtra(Mamasvi A.Ajmera 17, Kritika R.Divakar 13) 92-60 (22-12, 17-17, 19-15, 34-16)