ThePapare Basketball Championship is on the quest for a new champion in the girls’ category for its 2017 edition. Defending champions, Good Shepherd Convent, bid adieu to the tournament and have paved the way for an open race between the 4 semi-finalists.  

The Lay-Out

The 2017 edition ended in a tragedy for the defending champions God Shepherd Convent, as Lyceum International School – Wattala beat them 29-41 in the quarter-final stage.

Read : Lyceum seals semi-final sport; defending champions bow out

With the reigning champions out of the equation, St. Joseph`s Girls School, who emerged runners-up in the 2016 edition, will be looking to do one better this time around.

Good Shepherd Convent v St.Joseph’s Girls School – ThePapare Basketball Championship 2016 – Finals

While last year’s runners-up get a second chance, Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya, who in third place during the 2016 version will also have one more go at making it to the final.

Read : Holy Family Convent secure third place honours

Highlights – Holy Family Convent v Presbyterian Girls National School – ThePapare Basketball Championship 2016 – Consolation Finals

The other two contenders, Lyceum International School – Wattala and Gateway College – Colombo will experience the heat of the knockout stage for the 1st time. Lyceum International School was knocked out as early as the group stages in 2016 but in 2017 they have turned things around completely.

Meanwhile Gateway College – Colombo was not even a part of the contest in 2016 as they were playing battling it out in the B Division. Having won the championship in the B Division, they have sent out a strong message to the rest of competition by placing themselves in the knock-out stage.

Semi Final 01: Holy Family Convent (HFC) v Lyceum International School – Wattala (LISW) 

HFC will walk into the match in fabulous form. Still unbeaten in the tournament, HFC have already won the 2017 National School Games title. LISW lost their tournament opener to St. Joseph`s Girls’ School in over-time. Apart from that one loss LISW have also been in red hot form.

Read : Experienced LISW ready for TPBC challenge

While both teams will field some talented players, in terms of experience LISW will have the edge over HFC as they will have the services of three national players across two formats.

LISW’s Lubna Morseth, who was a part of both the National Youth Team and Senior Women`s Team, will be the one to keep your eye on along with Pawani Ranepura, who represented Sri Lanka in the  U18 3×3 World Cup. Hazeena Abdul will control the game from the point guard position with her experience gained in representing the country in the U18 3×3 Asia Cup.

For HFC, Manthila Gallassage, who represented Sri Lanka in the National Youth Team will be a player to watch. The contest between Manthila Gallassage and Lubna Morseth will be an interesting one, as both players will operate from the post and have been entrusted with grabbing the rebounds.

HFC`s form will be key while LISW will likely have an edge on the rebounds. Both the teams are on equal footing in penetrating and drawing fouls. The team who does well in their defense on the day should tuck the game away.

Semi Final 02: St. Joseph`s Girls’ School – Nugegoda (SJGS) v Gateway College – Colombo (GCC)  

When GCC stepped in to the tournament, the top dogs in the in A Division would not have expected the  B Division Champions to ease past them to the knockout stage. SJGS are the favorites in the contest without a doubt but GCC`s adaption to the game against the opposition has been brilliant.

Read : The new kids in the park, Gateway College – Colombo

SJGS remains unbeaten in the tournament alongside HFC but GCC, having finished in third place at the recently concluded National School Games, will be high on confidence.

Apart from the National School Games, GCC has also been performing well in the on-going inter-international basketball tournament, walking into the tournament having played regular basketball.

SJGS will have the upper hand in experience having the services of Chalani Perera, Taniya Perera and Selomi Gunersekara, who have all represented Sri Lanka in the international stage in the 3×3 format.

Apart from the key players for SJGS, Nihari Perera will be a player to watch as she was in sublime form during the group stages, scoring most of the points for the team.

Sandali Liyanage will add flare to GCC being the only representative from the GCC team who has played for the country.For GCC it will be Yischelle Foeander and Kiara Ekanayake who will lead the side up-front.

SJGS will walk in as the favorites, but if GCC can balance both offensive and defensive departments and stick to the basics, crossing the hurdle towards a final berth may not be difficult.


The Final Say  

Four top-notch schools, only two contenders will have the chance to battle it out in the finals. It could be two new faces feeling the heat or two teams getting a second chance at the trophy. Either way, it will be an interesting contest at play with national players testing their experience against each and looking to push their teams across the penultimate hurdle.