India's biggest national under-16 basketball tournament - the 36th Youth (U16) National Basketball Championship for Boys and Girls - came to a conclusion in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) on Tuesday, with Haryana (Boys) and Kerala (Girls) sitting atop the rankings. It was a major improvement for both these sides, as neither of them finished in the top three in last year's edition of the tournament.
Organised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) in association with the Tamil Nadu Basketball Association (TNBA), the Youth Nationals were held at the PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore from May 14-21, 2019. 26 teams each in the boys' and girls' divisions took part from all over the country.
Kerala's girls faced off in their final against hosts Tamil Nadu. Led by experienced youngster Ann Mary Zachariah's 40 points, Kerala were able to create the separation needed to win 80-69. Zachariah added to her strong form all tournament, coming on the back of her appearance at the NCAA Next Generation camp in the USA earlier this year. For TN, Sathya scored 31 points in a losing effort.
The high scorers in the finals for each of the winnings teams - Haryana's Sahil Taya and Kerala's Ann Mary Zachariah - were named the Best Players of the tournament.
Rajasthan won third place earlier in the day in both the boys' and girls' divisions. Rajasthan Boys were led by Digvijay Singh (36) and Amendra (23) in a 92-68 win over Karnataka. Karnataka's Achintya had a game-high 38 in the loss, while Manoj added 18.
Rajasthan's girls sneaked past Punjab in a low-scoring affair, 48-47, to win the bronze, led by Manvi Srivastava's 18 points. Harsimran Kaur, the Punjabi player who turned a lot of heads after her performances at the NBA Academy Women's camp earlier this year, had 29 her side.
- Boys: Haryana (Sahil Taya 31, Akshay 17) bt. Kerala (Pranav Prince 19, Jim Paul Kothulil 19) 81-74.
- Girls: Kerala (Ann Mary Zachariah 40) bt. Tamil Nadu (Sathya 31) 80-69.
- 1. Haryana
- 2. Kerala
- 3. Rajasthan
- 1. Kerala
- 2. Tamil Nadu
- 3. Rajasthan