Favourites of this tournament Mercantile BA beat SL Army at the semi-finals and Colombo BA eliminated SL Air Force to reach the Division 1 Women’s finals of the 51st Senior nationals.
Mercantile BA who were un-defeated thus far in the tournament faced a strengthened Colombo BA due to the inclusion of several SL Navy players in their line-up from the semi-finals stage onwards (Team SL Navy Women was not playing in this tournament).
Colombo BA had a strong 1st quarter taking the period 7-12. Premila Fernando and Imesha Thathsarani shot 3 pointers in addition to Solanji Gunawijeya’s Field goals to give Colombo BA the early lead. A determined Mercantile BA mounted a strong come back in the 2nd quarter to erase their deficit going into half time. Jayaliya Kumari, Anjalee Ekayanaye and Kumarine De Silva led Mercantile BA in doing so. The scores were tied at 24-24 at the breather.
Sanduni Bollegala and Solanji came up big in the 3rd quarter for Colombo BA scoring vital points in the paint to slightly edge past Mercantile BA in the period (35-37). However Prasadi Fonseka had a strong 4th quarter assisted by Anjalee, Kumarine and the rest of the team to ensure Mercantile BA edges past Colombo BA and reclais the Senior nationals title they lost at the 50th Senior nationals to SL Navy after winning it time and again before that.
Final scores: Mercantile BA (Women) 50 vs. Colombo BA (Women) 45
Top scorer: Solanji Gunawijeya 24 Points (Colombo BA Women)
T.M. Amath (Coach, Mercantile BA) – Winning team
“Like I told you the other day when you interviewed me, 6 members of our team are part of the national Women’s team which I coach. So I already knew their tendencies and playing style going into this tournament. We have a good coach-player rapport. It wasn’t very difficult building it with the other girls as well. Unfortunately I couldn’t use all my players today. I had confidence in our trap defence, putting pressure on them and winning them game. Paiva (Niroshini), Kumarine and the rest of the seniors executed their duties well ably assisted by the youngsters in our team. We had a few young players in our team who could run up and down the court tirelessly, and their contribution came in big to fend off a strong Colombo BA side in the final. We worked as a team and won the championship. Looking forward to winning more championships in the future.”
Niroshini Paiva (Captain, Mercantile BA) – Winning team
“We were ready to play the finals despite of the knowledge that Colombo BA team has been strengthened with the inclusion of SL Navy players. Our team was focused on winning as we’ve discussed before. Our main target was to reclaim the lost title in 2015. It was a team effort. There were certain situations where we went down in the finals, but we managed to come back every time we fell down. 6 of our players have been nominated for the national squad. It was a great experience playing the Senior nationals after a lapse of 2 years. I think winning this championship is a great experience for all the individuals in our team going forward in the future.”
Sivashakthi Selvaraja (Coach, Colombo BA)
“Our team played hard today. We lost our way in the 4th quarter turning the ball over and relaxing a bit. We had a few players who were injured which affected the game. In the future we will train harder and come back stronger to win the next tournament. I wanted to play a few young players at this tournament as this experience would go a long way in shaping their future basketball careers. I am confident our team will perform at a higher standard next time around. “