DEFENDING CHAMPION Central Region Bhopal suffered a setback on the inaugural day of the All India Inter-SAI Basketball Tournament as they lost a thriller (72-74) to the Northern Region, Sonepat.
The tournament began today at SAI Training Centre. Another major contender, Eastern Region, Kolkata, faced the same fate against Hyderabad. Kolkata lost the match 61-63.
In the first enthralling match, hosts Bhopal who had demonstrated a splendid game in the central region tournament, struggled from the very first minute of the match against the long shooting of the Sonepat. After lagging behind in the first quarter, Bhopal almost equalised the score in the second quarter. At the end of the second quarter the score was 37-36 in favour of Sonepat.
Playing with the strategy of full court pressure defence, the visitors managed to dominate the home team. Though the score was equalised in the last part of the match, the mistake of over-possessing the ball caused Bhopal lose the match 74-72. Vikas and Joginder scored 28 and 22 points for the winning side.
The story was same in the second match played between Hyderabad and Kolkata. Even after leading with the score 38-34 at the end second quarter, Kolkata failed to maintain the rhythm in the last quarter. Kolkata lost the match 63-61. Sumit and Rajesh scored 21 and 19 points for the Hyderabad team.
Earlier, deputy director central region SAI Sanjeev Sharma inaugurated the tournament. On the occasion, STC in-charge Mukhtiyar Singh, Jaivir Singh, Surendra Pal, Y S Chauhan, state referee Damodar Arya and others were present.