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Semifinalists spotted

Avinash Nair

PUNE: The battle lines are drawn and it will be a repeat of the Ludhiana Nationals line-up in the women's semifinals. Delhi brushed aside the challenge from host Maharashtra while Kerala, Chattisgarh and holder Indian Railways all posted runaway victories in the women's quarterfinals of the 56th senior National basketball championship in progress at the Shri Shiv Chatrapati Kreedapeet Indoor facility near here on Monday.

While Delhi downed Maharashtra 85-68, Kerala had the better off of Tamil Nadu at 81-61, Railways trounced Madhya Pradesh 123-40 and Chattisgarh outran Punjab 78-70.

The Chhattisgarh-Punjab tie was the best of the lot with the gritty girls from Central India were aggressive right from the very start to rattle the calculations of Punjab.

Plucky show

Punjab did run up a brisk start but once the shorter but sharper Chhattisgarh girls got into their groove there was no stopping them. The girls from Chhattisgarh showed lots of pluck and a pluck to initially match the Punjab shooters and then steadily overran them.

Rakhi Rajput's two successive three-pointers in fact floored Punjab women before Navneet and Pushpa joined in the scoring act.

Kerala did not have a good outing but converted its chances and made fewer mistakes to gain the upperhand against Tamil Nadu which missed under-the-board baskets and committed too many fumbles to virtually gift the match away to Kerala. A 17-point lead for Kerala was narrowed down to a mere four points in the third quarter as TN girls seemed to have recovered well, but it was shortlived as it slipped into a series of errors and some silly attempts to hand over the initiative back to Kerala, for which playmaker and shooter Anjana was in an irresistible form.

The results:

Men: Quarterfinals: Railways 95 (Tridip Rai 35, Riyazuddin 25) bt Karnataka 76 (Srinivasa Gowda 15, Murli Mohan 12, Umashankar 11). Ht: 46-37.

Pre-quarterfinals: Rajasthan 114 (Lokesh Yadav 37, Mod Singh 31, Bhagwan Singh 13,Ashok Kumar 23) bt MP 95 (Kuldeep 24, Rajeev Choudhary 35). Ht: 50-46; Kerala 85 (Subash Shenoy 42; Monish Wilson 10 bt Delhi 74 (Dalip Kumar 23, Shiv Kumar 17, Satish Kumar 1). Ht 37-46.

Lower placings: Maharashtra 86 (Lakwinder Singh 25, Amit Wadkar 15, Ashish Dubey 10) bt Chandigarh 85 (Mandeep Singh 14, Gurpal Singh 19, Amrish kumar 17). Ht: 41-40; Orissa 95 (Ashok Kumar 27, Ashwanraj 26, Vikas Mohanty 12) bt U.P. 89 (Stish Kumar 27, Bhanwar Singh 19, Rajnish Singh 15). Ht: 47-33.

Women:

Quarterfinals: Chhattisgarh 78 (Navneet Kaur 18, A Pushpa 18, Kawaljeet Kaur 13, Aakansha Singh 13) bt Punjab 70 (Kamaljeet Kaur 33, Aashna Ujwaney 21, Paramjeet Kaur 10). (Ht: 32-36); Delhi 85 (Divya Singh 28, Sheeba Maggon 18, Prashanti Singh 13) bt Maharashtra 68 (Lincy Joseph 24, Sai Nimbalkar 10, Rashmi C 10, Shweta Shithole 9)Ht: 41-19; Kerala 81 (S.S. Anjana 27, Lajitha 15, Sonia Joseph 24) bt TN 61 (Lakshmi Devi 18, S. Kokila 12). Ht:43-24; Railways 123 (Shanti Saldanha 13, Geetu Anna Jose 13, Bharti Netam 13, Anju Lakra 12, Indu S 10, Mrudula Adil 10) bt MP 40 (Manisha Pawar 9, Nidhi Chauhan 9). Ht: 60-13.

Lower placings: Karnataka 71 (Sonam Kaur 15, Deepali 14, Deepa 10) bt West Bengal 53 (Paushali Dutta 18, Mahua Pal 8)Ht: 26-27; Haryana 63 (Kiran 40, Monica 14, Sulekha 13) bt Assam 33 (B Basia 14). Ht: 30-21.

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