On Thursday the 16th of February 2017 we had a triple header at the 51st Basketball Senior Nationals at the Police Park basketball court. The first game was a Men’s encounter between Batticaloa BA and SL Police, followed by a Women’s division clash between SL Army (Women) and Colombo BA (Women) and finally a game between Mercantile BA (Men) and SL Schools BA (Men).
With the senior nationals basketball championship commencing on the 3rd of February to 18th February we give you a chance to select your favorite team. Place your vote and make your team the Peoples Team of the championship.
Batticaloa BA vs SL Police: 2nd Half dominance takes SL Police over the line
SL Police, playing in their home court, started the opening game for the night strong, led by Sujith and took the quarter comfortably. (7-19) However the resilient visitors from the east stormed back into the game in the 2nd quarter scoring 8 more points than their opposition in the period. They did it through their fast-transition game and good perimeter shooting. The scores read a close 29-33 in favour of SL Police going into the breather.
The 3rd quarter was reminiscent of the 1st quarter for Batticaloa BA as they missed straightforward opportunities to score off turnovers on the transition game and simply couldn’t get any momentum going on their offense. SL Police didn’t play a very systematic game on the offensive end either but their activity on crashing the boards helped them get 2nd chance points. Although S. Shanthosh and V.Vivek tried to keep the visitors hopes alive, it was too little, too late. SL Police constantly fed the post and mostly scored via mid-range jump-shots, turnaround jump-shots and 2nd chance points to seal the deal. Forward Sujith (24 points) and the big man Krishan Chamara (28 points) both had a solid outing. The young G.Arul who is a Batticaloa native too (playing for SL Police) made quite an impact through his defense and hustle plays.
Final scores: Batticaloa BA (55) vs SL Police (74)
Buddhika Kumudapperuma, Coach SL Police:
“Our squad has had little time together to practice as team. We had a good outing but we need to minimize some of our mistakes to face tougher opposition”
Top scorer: Krishan Chamara – 28 Points (SL Police)
SL Army (Women) vs Colombo BA (Women): SL Army full of surprises despite the loss
As opposed to what was expected, the game proved to be a close one with Colombo BA barely taking the 1st quarter 9 -12. The 2nd quarter went back and forth as well but Colombo marginally increased their lead in that period to go up 15-19 going into the half-time. SL Army lost their way a bit in the 3rd quarter unable to create much on offense due to Colombo BA’s suffocating defense and went down by 6 points in the period which was huge, given that it was a very low scoring game overall (36-26). Just when we had written off SL Army they made a strong comeback led by Melissa Dunuwille and came as close as 35-41 with under 4 minutes on the clock. Off a turnover Melissa attempted a 3 which rattled in and out and Colombo BA made sure that they didn’t give any further openings to the team while scoring a 3 pointer of their own to take the game 35-44.
The young and talented Siriwardana sisters (Keyasha and Yasara) were most impressive for SL Army scoring 6 points apiece and did most of the play-making. Colombo BA had a more balanced game and kept making big 3 Pointers throughout the game to keep them ahead and their offense was led by the stalwart Erandi Rajapaksha (8 Points) and the young Sri Lanka National team player Imesha Thathsarani (14 Points)
Final scores: SL Army (35) vs Colombo BA (44)
Sivashakthi Selvaraja (Coach, Colombo BA (Women) )
“Happy to get the win; ready for the next match and take it all”
Top scorer : Imesha Thathsarani – 14 Points
Mercantile BA vs SL Schools (Men): Mercantile BA barely scrapes through again!
It was a “You hit me, I’ll hit you harder” type of a contest right through-out. Scores were level 11-11 at the end of the 1st quarter. Tushan Dharmasena and Clinton Stallone gave Mercantile BA a slight lead going into the half-time via mid-range jump shots and lay-ups (29-25). SL Schools came in firing on all cylinders at the beginning of the 3rd period thanks to their big men Roshan Perera and Nimesh Fernando but Mercantile BA did damage mitigation towards the latter half of the 3rd to only trail it by 7 (40-43). Forced to step up their game Clinton Stallone hit a bunch of 3s and the rest of the crew amped it up on the defense to force turn-overs which they converted on the other end to points via fast breaks.
Mercantile BA was up 60-58 and Clinton’s younger sibling Arnold Brent (playing for SL Schools) had the ball eyeing the 3-Point shot but as he rose up to launch Charith Perera stripped the ball from him, preventing the dead-eye from an open look at the hoop which might have put the School boys ahead. Clinton and Gayan De Croos converted free throws off fouls on the other end to give the favourites Mercantile BA their 2nd marginal victory of the tournament.
Final scores: Mercantile BA (62) vs Sri Lanka Schools (58)
Panduka Ranasinghe (Coach, Mercantile BA)
“SL Schools BA played a very good game of basketball today. We have to give all of our players their quota of minutes in the game as this is a squad comprising of the best players in the country. This sometimes would mean that players have lesser time to settle in. We are not too worried though.”
Top scorer: Nimesh Fernando – 16 Points (SL Schools BA)