DIMAPUR, MAY 9 (MExN): In their final group league match of the 69th Junior National Basketball Championship on Wednesday, Nagaland boys were defeated by Jharkhand 42-37in an entertaining game.
A press release informed that the Nagaland team had a lacklustre opening quarter trailing 00-10 as the opponents seized control at the start. The Nagaland boys opened their account through VivikaYeptho’s conversion and managed to share the spoils in the second quarter at 06-06, still trailing 06-16 by half time.
In the third quarter, the Nagaland boys took control of the game 12-09 with Keneingutou powering his team with 8 points. In the fourth quarter, they managed a late burst trailing 32-34 at one stage before letting the game slip away in the final period of the quarter, despite limiting the score at 17-17 in the quarter.
The ever consistent Keneingutou tallied 16 points for Naga Boys while Mashel Pashel scored 8 points. For Jharkhand Sumit scored 15 points and Matab added 14 points.
Coach Rajan said, “This is my first assignment as a coach and I learned a lot through this experience. Even though we lost all the games, our team had received lots of accolades from international players and coaches. International player Satnam Singh has requested us to send the state team for the Senior Nationals. I believe with proper coaching at an early age and with good infrastructure, our players will succeed at this level.”
Keneingutou, Captain of Nagaland team in his final riposte commented,“This Championship was an eye opener for us. We learned a lot about the FIBA rules and how to play in big games. We are going back with added experience and motivation for Basketball. The sports infrastructure here in Ludhiana has floored us, and it is something which we hope for in our own state. I believe with this kind of infrastructure, we can also be in par with any other state in (any) sporting disciplines. Our thanks to NBA and DDBA for giving us the opportunity to play in the Nationals, and personally, to the team for the confidence levelled on me as the captain of Nagaland team.”
According to manager Tiameren, “As their first Nationals, the inexperience of our young boys was visible against better teams and taller players. But they got better with more games and put up a grand show in the final group match. Many players and coaches from other states talked about the swiftness of our boys and their good game sense. We can only get better from here on.”