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Punjab stuns M.P., in final

Principal Correspondent

TIRUCHI: Punjab will take on Chhattisgarh in the boys' final while Uttar Pradesh will play Kerala for top honours in the girls section in the 27th youth National basketball championship being held here.

Tough opponent

In a boys' semifinal match on Monday, Punjab shocked defending champion Madhya Pradesh 69-54. M.P., which had a smooth sailing in the tournament found Punjab to be a tough opponent. A seven-point lead after the first quarter certainly boosted the confidence of the Punjab boys who kept penetrating the rival defence with ease.

M.P. looked better in the second session but could not close the gap at the halfway mark. The M.P. boys were off colour in the third session and struggled to the find the target. Punjab utilised the opportunity to open up an 18-point advantage after the third quarter.

Keeping up the pressure

The Punjab players kept up the pressure in the final session to secure a comfortable win in the end. Gauravdeep (19) was the top-scorer for the winner.

In a girls' semifinal encounter, Uttar Pradesh scripted a 73-49 victory over Tamil Nadu. Dhriti Arora unleashed a series of under-baskets to help her team gain 19-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Lovely moves

Preeti Kumari began initiating some lovely moves in the second session as U.P. led 34-21 at halftime. Tamil Nadu began the third quarter positively and thanks to some sharp shooting it reduced the margin considerably. But, U.P. recovered quickly to enlarge the lead once again.

The results:

Boys: Semifinals: Punjab 69 (Gauravdeep 19, Sajnam 15, Harmandeep 14) bt M.P. 54 (Mirza 15); Chhattisgarh 69 (Sanjeev 18, Dinesh 15) bt TN 67 (Sudarshan 18, Kumaran 15, Karthikeyan 10).

Quarterfinals: TN 80 (Arun Prashanth 37, Sudarshan 22, Aravind 12) bt Rajasthan 70 (Sharath 20, Darshan Singh 18).

Girls: Semifinals: U.P. 73 (Dhriti Arora 33, Preeethi Kumari 15) bt TN 49 (Keerthi 14, Ramya 13); Kerala 65 (Jeena 18, Libina 12) bt Maharashtra 46 (Sarah Vora 14) .

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