Indian Railways ensured they didn’t exit from the tournament without a win, defeating Maharashtra 102-82 in an exciting league match of the Savio Cup all-India basketball tournament at the Don Bosco School, Matunga, on Thursday.
Railways, undergoing a rebuilding process under coach Sat Prakash Yadav, were put under pressure by the young Maharashtra side in the third quarter and even trailed 53-58 at one juncture, before their experience saw them pull clear and increase their lead in the closing stages of the match.
Having lost three matches, Railways were already out of the reckoning for the next stage and were playing for pride. They raced to a 26-17 lead in the first quarter, which they increased to 44-21 at half time. Egged on by a vociferous crowd, Maharashtra captain Siddhant Shinde and Raj Kalbhor led the fight back. But they could not maintain the momentum. With the experienced Prakash Mishra leading the way, Railways were back in lead and emerged comfortable winners in the end. Mishra was the top scorer for Railways with 22 points, while Sunil Kumar (20) and Gagandeep (19) made useful contributions.
Men’s: Indian Railways 102 (Prakash Mishra 22, Sunil Kumar 20, Gagandeep 17) bt Maharashtra 82 (Siddhant Shinde 24, Raj Kalbhor 21, Saurabh Nishar 12)
ONGC 98 (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 21, Yadwinder Singh 15) bt Indian Railways 66 (Prakash Mishra 13, Jaskaran Singh 13, Gagandeep 12)
Sportspower USA 82 (Paul Grant 23, Terrance Thomas 21) bt Tamil Nadu 71 (Rikin Rethan 20, CV Dinesh 14)