Uttarakhand, Railways to meet in senior basketball quarters

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Mysuru, Jan 13 (IANS) Defending champions Uttarakhand will face strong contenders Railways while Karnataka will battle formidable Services in the quarter-finals of the 66th Senior National Basketball Championship.

On the fifth day of the tournament here on Wednesday, Railways sealed a place in the last four with an 84-70 victory against Kerala. The former champions were boosted by experienced centre Somvier’s 28 points and 13 rebounds.

Kerala are fighting to stay alive in the tournament and will now battle it out in the pre-quarterfinals.

Uttarakhand, meanwhile, defeated Karnataka 65-58. But Karnataka still made it to the quarter-finals as they have a superior point differential compared to Delhi and Haryana.

Former champions Punjab and Tamil Nadu — both of whom have won all their matches so far — have also booked their tidkets to the last eight.

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Tamil Nadu maintained their spotless record with a 95-29 victory against Telangana. Punjab also remained unbeaten with a comfortable 83-66 victory against Haryana. They rode on a strong performance from their centre Gagandeep Singh, who put up a double-digit personal score of 20 points and 14 rebounds.

In the women’s section, Tamil Nadu sealed a berth in the quarter-finals after a 57-37 win against Punjab.

The other women’s teams that have secured a spot in the quarters thus far are the undefeated Railways and Kerala, along with defending champions Chhattisgarh, 2015 runners-up Delhi and the surprise package of the tournament, Telangana.

Kerala remained undefeated as they overpowered Telangana 72-46, handing them their first loss of the tournament. Jeena P.S. once again made it look easy as she scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to help her team advance.

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The remaining two quarter-final spots are still up for grabs. Punjab have sneaked through to the pre-quarterfinals, knocking out hosts Karnataka on the basis of the head-to-head record between the two teams.

Karnataka have been winless in the tournament so far, after losing their final group game 49-68 to Railways on Wednesday. Centre Rajapriyadarshini top scored for Railways with 19 points.

Maharashtra are also through to the pre-quarterfinals with a win against Madhya Pradesh, led by their experienced guard and captain, Manisha Dange, who scored 22 points. West Bengal and Rajasthan will also be playing in the pre-quarterfinals for a spot in the quarters.

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