On Saturday the 18th of February only 2 of the scheduled matches of the 51st Senior Nationals group stages at the Henry Pedris basketball stadium could be played due to inclement weather conditions.

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The first game was a Women’s encounter between Colombo BA (Women) and SL Schools BA (Women), which was followed by a Men’s division clash between Hambantota BA and Batticaloa BA.

Colombo BA (Women) vs. SL Schools BA (Women): Colombo BA (Women) cruise through

The game had a slow start with both teams missing many open shots but Colombo BA took lead marginally in the 1st quarter 8-6. The sloppy game play from both teams continued into the 2nd quarter with only a total of 11 points scored by both teams combined in it (15-10)!

Although there were occasional outbursts from SL Schools, Imesha Thathsarani and S. Thalagala from Colombo BA ensured that they kept their opponents at bay by scoring at regular intervals.

The 4th quarter wasn’t very eventful either as Colombo BA took their 4th straight quarter in the game outscoring SL Schools by 4 in the period to win the game 38-26.

For SL Schools Nihari Perera (6 points), Pawani Ranepura (8 points) and Lubna Morseth (7 points) had the most production from the offensive end, with Lubna contributing to a bulk of their rebounds by playing good interior defense. The already short-handed Colombo BA had a player go down in the game and Colombo fans will be hoping she’ll be back for their next outing or Colombo BA will be proceeding to the rest of the game with only 6 players in their team!

Final scores : Colombo BA (Women) 38 vs SL Schools BA (Women) 26

Top scorer : Imesha Thathsarani – 15 Points (Colombo BA)

Sivashakthi Sevaraja (Coach, Colombo BA) – Winning team

“Our players have suffered some injuries in this tournament.  We will come up with strategies to minimize the adverse effects of these injuries on the rest of the team play. We only have 2 experienced players in our squad, the other girls are quite young. Our team played with a lot of energy today and that combined with our experience gave us a 12-point win in this game”.

Meloney Dasanayake (Star Player, Sri Lanka Schools BA) – Losing team

“We didn’t play a good game today. Our players are really talented and I know we could do way better than this. We will be giving it our everything in our next encounter and will be going for the win, I promise.”

Hambantota BA vs Batticaloa BA : Hambantota BA use opportunity to experiment

Hambantota BA started the game really strong out-scoring, out-rebounding and out-hustling their visitors from the East and took the 1st quarter 20-6. However although Hambantota BA continued to dominate in the 2nd quarter both teams were quite sloppy on the offensive end missing wide-open shots and conceding unforced turn overs. It was a one-sided affair in the 1st half (30-11). Coming into the 3rd quarter Batticlaoa BA amped the pace of the game up and made good use of their fast transition game led by V.C. Vijay and S. Vijitharan and often caught Hambantota BA out of position and reeling on defense and took the 3rd period by 5 points (36-22).

Batticaloa BA’s power forward S.Vithurshan made valuable contributions throught the game with 10 points and helped keep the score card ticking in the 4th  passage of play. But the mountain was way too high to climb for them, with a defensive oriented Hambantota BA quickly adjusting to the fast tempo tactics of Batticaloa BA and slowing the game down on the offensive end to break their opponent’s rhythm. Towards the last few minutes Hambantota BA made a run of their own with almost everyone catching the ball making shots. The game ended with a 20-point win for Hambantota BA (57-37)

Roshan Randima, star player of Hambantota BA did not play the entire game, taking time off to heal an injured knee suffered after a scary fall in their previous encounter against SL Police. Hambantota BA’s big man Isuru Perera who is also having a good tournament so far suffered a blow near his eye and didn’t play the entire 2nd half. Hambantota BA is already suffering from injury issues and the fans will be hoping that Randima, Isuru and the rest of their crew stay healthy delving deeper into this tournament as they have a must-win game against SL Air Force coming up next.

Final scores : Hambantota BA (57) vs Batticlaoa BA (37)

Top scorer: – V.C. Vijay 11 Points (Batticaloa BA)

Andrew Alphonsus (Star Player, Hambantota BA)

The weather (Rain) and the time of play (started at 9.30pm) had quite an effect on our game. The players were playing during their Meal time (Smiles). Our Boys were a bit off today including myself. Our offensive plays were not up to mark. Our focus for today with all due to respect to Batticaloa BA was to focus on combinations, offense and defense in preparation of tomorrow’s encounter. Although we had a good game today we made quite a few mistakes which we will have to sort out going into a make or break game tomorrow against SL Air Force.
We’ll have tough competition tomorrow. SL Air Force has great players in their line-up who are in form right now. They have quite a few senior players who have been playing together for a while much like us. Our team has improved since our 1st game. We can see more combinations clicking. We will play hard and leave it all on the court tomorrow

Roshan Hemendra (Coach, Batticaloa BA) : Losing team

“We have a lot of School boys in our squad. We have also lost many players in this tournament since they are representing other teams (Mercantile BA, SL AirForce). We had as less as 12 days to prepare for this tournament. It was a great learning curve for our Boys to play against big teams. We will make use of this experience going forward”

Injury report : Isuru Perera, Hambantota BA (cut on the face) – Good to go for the next game

P.S : The 1st match scheduled for the day (5pm) between SL Schools and Gampaha BA was postponed due to inclement weather.