The semi-finals of the U19 B division girls` basketball tournament was held last evening in which Gateway and CIS qualified into the finals defeating Lyceum Nugegoda and Dharmashoka College respectively.
Gateway College Colombo vs Lyceum Nugegoda
Gateway College was the first to gain possession of the ball from the jump ball start but they failed to capitalize on this as Lyceum was the first to score during the match. Whilst both teams were running a tight man to man defense, the girls from Lyceum failed to find the gaps in the defense and found it difficult to shoot over the Gateway center Yischelle Foenander and as a result, they trailed from early on in the game.
Gateway had Lyceum`s key players Sharanya Jayakodi and Saduni Wickremesinghe heavily guarded making it difficult for Lyceum to reduce the deficit. On the other hand, the girls from Gateway took advantage of all the players on the court as their passing was the key to creating gaps in the defense.
Half-time: Gateway College-28 Lyceum Nugegoda- 18
The second half started off with Lyceum switching up their defensive strategy to a half court press but the girls from Gateway still managed to score first. The girls from Gateway continued to increase the deficit by scoring before their opponents recovered after an attempt at scoring.
Halfway into the second half the Lyceum defense moved up even further and switched to a full court press although this was not enough to cover up for their inadequacies in securing rebounds. The point guard of the Gateway team Kiara Ekanayake together with Sandali Liyanage were the main point scorers for the Gateway team who sealed their victory with a lead of 18 points.
Full-time: Gateway College- 62 Lyceum Nugegoda- 44
The Gateway coach shared his thoughts with ThePapare: “We’ve got a good momentum at the moment, winning every match we played and I think we’ve reduced a number of mistakes we make in a match since our team chemistry has greatly improved. We just hope to maintain this up until tomorrow.”
Colombo International School vs Dharmashoka College
CIS made the first move of the game obtaining the ball from the jump ball but they failed to convert it successfully as the Asokhians drew first blood. The girls from Dharmashoka were in favor of a 3:2 zone defense and although they were two evenly matched teams, CIS took an early lead taking advantage of the many opportunities DC gave them at the free shot line.
In comparison to their opponents, the CIS players were more agile and better at securing the rebounds and intercepting their opponents` passes. Whilst one of the key CIS players Sarah Ozman was out for a little while due to an injury, Dharmashoka capitalized to bring down the lead to 7 points but Missaki Hatta fought back to add on the points and allowed CIS to maintain this gap as they went into lemons.
Half-time- Colombo International School – 36 Dharmashoka College – 29
As the second half got underway, Dharmashoka changed their game plan as they came in with a man to man defense with hopes of marking the main shooters and stopping them before they had any opportunity to score. It began to look like a very tight game as O. Dilakshika scored quite a few baskets for DC during the half allowing them to close the gap and add pressure on their opponents.
The match resumed after a short intermission caused by rain and both teams had to adjust to the wet and slippery conditions. During this crucial half, CIS had also switched to a man to man defense and once again had many opportunities at scoring from near the free shot line due to the girls from Dharmashoka exceeding their foul count. Dharmashoka fought hard to close the gap but the CIS point guard kept coordinating her team and set up both defensive and offensive plays well to counter this and maintain the lead until the clock ran out.
Full-time- Colombo International School – 53 Dharmashoka College – 45
Speaking to the coach of CIS, he had this to say after their victory: “The team has been practicing hard and we believe we should be able to beat Gateway in the finals since we did only lose to them by one point at the Inter-internationals tournament. Although it will be a difficult match we believe we can do it.”
The finals will be held today at 4.30pm at the Gateway College Rajagiriya basketball court.