Mumbai: The Maharashtra women, who had an impressive all-wun record in the runup to the final, had not accounted for an inspired Geethu Anna Jose in the title clash. The country’s most talented women’s basketball player was simply unstoppable and scored a whopping 45 points to lead Southern Railway to a 88-73 win and retain the women’s title in the 8th Savio Cup Basketball Tournament.
The Boys under-20 final was lifted by Savio Club, representing the hosts, with a 72-61 victory over Nagpada Basketball Association (NBA).
Maharashtra, who had sprung a surprise by defeating the champions in the league opener, were caught totally unawares by the brisk pace with which Southern Railway began proceedings and never recovered from the 15-point deficit they conceded in the first quarter. They did manage to bring some sanity to the proceedings thanks to senior players Manisha Dange and Smriti, along with captain Shireen Limaye, who kept control of the ball for longer periods before making inroads to score.
The state eves dominated the second quarter and at times threatened to level scores, but every time it was the tall Geethu who rose to the occasion, scoring unerringly whenever served the ball close to the basket. Also on song was another senior player P Anitha, who played the ideal supporting role, scoring 20 points.
Southern Railway took home Rs 50,000 as the winner’s purse, while Maharashtra had to settle for Rs 25,000.
Results (all finals):
Women: Southern Railway 88 (Geethu Anna Jose 45, Anitha P 20) bt Maharashtra 73 (Manisha Dange 20, Smriti S 19). H-T 47-34. Quarter-wise scores: 31-16, 16-18, 19-18, 22-21.
Boys U-20: Savio Club 72 (Melvin Rego 20, Yohan Doshi 16) bt Nagpada Basketball Association 61 (Fardeen Khan 28, Mohsin Shaikh) H-T 33-30. Quarter-wise scores: 19-14, 14-16, 21-12, 18-19.