30th Federation Cup 2016 – SECR Bilaspur women and IOB men remain undefeated; Chhattisgarh’s Poonam has another huge game
Bambolim, 11th March 2016: Entering the third day of the 30th Federation Cup 2016, South-east Central Railways, Bilaspur (SECR) women were high on confidence after pulling off two close victories on the first two days. Today morning, they took on a young Delhi team that did not have the services of the Singh sisters.
One of the top scorers in the women’s division, Seema Singh of SECR did not start today’s game, with the coach choosing to limit her minutes keeping in mind future battles. In a low scoring first half, Delhi managed to keep pace with SECR trailing only by 4 points (30-26) at halftime. Monika Vats contributed 12 points for Delhi, while Sahiba had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. But third quarter onwards, SECR switched to a higher gear, pulling away from the Delhi team. Almost all their points came from within the 3-point line, including 42 points in the paint. SECR’s Sangeeta Kaur (23 points) put her mid-range game on display, knocking down close jumpers and finishing at the basket. Akansha Singh pulled down 17 rebounds and contributed 13 points for SECR, who registered a comfortable 62-47 victory. Having won all three of their games so far, SECR have sealed a berth in the semifinals.
The North-western Railways, Jaipur (NWR) team took on Kerala police in the first men’s clash of the day. Both teams entered the game with sub-par records, fighting with Army Red for the second spot in Group B after IOB. It was a battle between evenly matched sides with the scores remaining neck-and-neck throughout. The starters for both teams played most of the game and, with little or no bench contribution, scored almost the entire points of their team. Jaipur relied on their bigger frontcourt to score 60 of their points in the paint. Kerala relied on their 3-point shooting, with a combined 9 triples coming from Anu Mohandas (17 points) and Jomon Jose (19 points). Shreejith Nair put up 21 points for Kerala and Jijo Thankachan had an excellent all-round game with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. For NWR, Prashant Singh had 32 points, including 4 of 7 shooting from 3-point range. NWR’s Abdul Rahim Khan (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Jainesh Patel (16 points, 11 rebounds) both had double-doubles. The game came down to the final few possessions with little to separate the teams in the final minutes. Abdul Rahim Khan was big down the stretch for NWR knocking down clutch buckets including an and-1 play that gave his team a 3-point lead and the 91-88 victory, leaving Kerala Police winless in the tournament so far.
The second women’s game of Day 3 was a Group A clash between Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. Once again, Chhattisgarh centre Poonam Chaturvedi was the difference-maker between the two teams. Maharashtra had no answer for the 6 foot 9 inch centre, who was unstoppable in the paint. Chhattisgarh’s game plan was simple – lob the ball to Poonam and let her do the rest. They worked their plan to perfection today against the undersized Maharashtra squad. Poonam ended up scoring a whopping 65 points to go with a massive 23 rebounds. After the first five minutes, Chhattisgarh led in double-digits through most of the contest. For Maharashtra, Manish Dange (29 points) and Sruthi Menon (26 points) fought valiantly, but there was hardly any contribution from the rest of their team. Chhattisgarh’s Riya B and Saranjeet Kaur occassionaly peppered Poonam’s scoring with a 3-pointer or a transition bucket, helping Poonam and their team cruise to a 107-82 victory.
In a clash between the top two teams in Group B, Indian Overseas Bank, Chennai (IOB) and Army Red squared off early in the afternoon. Both teams had the size and speed to match up against each other in what was expected to be an enthralling affair. However, IOB turned the game into a one-sided match yet again, leaving Army in the dust right from the first quarter. IOB seemed like the more skilled and experienced unit using good ball movement to knock down open shots. Pratham Singh’s outside shooting was on-point yet again as he drained 5 triples off 9 attempts. IOB’s veteran centre Vineeth Mathew hurt Army on the inside, working in the post on his way to 17 points and 15 rebounds. Defensively, IOB managed to contain Army with active hands, close out on shooters and clogging the passing lanes. Siva Balan had 5 steals for IOB and finished with a decent all-round game that included 11 points and 5 assists. Mayur Bhat was the lone high scorer for the Army with 22 points in the losing effort. IOB achieved a third blowout victory 71-47, giving them an assured spot in the semifinals.
Late Evening Day 2- Goan teams outclassed
In the last two games on Day 2, the Goan women and men teams lost to Maharashtra and Army Red respectively. Goan women found the going tough against a fast paced Maharashtra team which kept leaking away for the break. Athletic point guard Shaheen Rebelo was the lone bright spot for Goa, scoring 21 of her team’s 32 points. For Maharashtra, Shruti Menon scored 21 points in just 20 minutes which contributed in her team increasing its lead through each quarter. The final score read 75-32 in favour of Maharashtra.
The final match of the day was between Don Bosco Oratory (DBO), Goa men and Army Red. Army was playing its second game of the day, but the side looked keen and fresh taking on the home side. Don Bosco’s Aaron Ferns, arguably one of the shortest players in the competition, showed his heart of steel, willing himself to 21 points that included some tough floaters in the paint. Shawn Soares had 13 points in the 51-74 loss.
RESULTS FROM DAY 3 (upto 3.00 pm)
Chhattisgarh (Poonam Chaturvedi 65pts and 23 rbs, Saranjeet Kaur 15, Riya B 11) bt Maharashtra (Manisha Dange 29, Sruthi Menon 26) 107-82 (33-16, 25-25, 28-19, 21-22)
South-east Central Railways, Bilaspur (Sangeeta Kaur 23, Akansha Singh 13pts and 17rbs, Nikita Godamkar 9) bt Delhi (Monika Vats 12, Sahiba 10pts and 11rbs) 62-47 (17-20, 13-6, 20-13, 12-8)
North-western Railways, Jaipur (Prashant Singh 33, Abdul Rahim Khan 20, Jainesh Patel 16) bt Kerala Police (Jijo Thankachan 22, Shreejith Nair 21, Jomon Jose 19) 91-88 (22-17, 14-30, 34-18, 21-23)
Indian Overseas Bank, Chennai (Pratham Singh 22pts and 10rbs, Vineeth Mathew 17pts and 15rbs, Siva Balan 11pts 5asts 5stls) btArmy Red (Mayur Bhat 22, Ramesh K 10) 71-47 (18-9, 19-17, 20-7, 14-14)
LATE EVENING RESULTS FROM DAY 2 (10TH MARCH)
Maharashtra (Sruthi Menon 21 pts, Neha Sahu 13 rbs) bt Goa (Shaheen Rebelo 21 pts, Saachia Nathan 6 pts) 75-32 [31-10, 14-10, 15-6, 15-6]
Army Red (Sashi Kumar 19 pts & 13 rbs, Amal James 14 pts, Vivekananda Das 12 pts) bt Don Bosco Oratory, Goa (Aaron Ferns 20 pts, Shawn Soares 13 pts) 74-51 [24-10, 24-11, 15-11, 11-19]