By Debayan Mukherjee
Orlando, Aug 7 (IANS) It was a mixed bag for Team India on the opening day of the Junior NBA Global Championships as the boys team pulled off a stunning win over Latin America but the girls gave a poor account of themselves against the same opponents, in the pool play among international teams at HP Fieldhouse courts on Wednesday.
The 10-member Indian teams, with nine debutants each in both boys’ and girls’ section, started on the best possible note with the boys getting the better of Latin America 73-67 in a cliffhanger which needed Over Time (OT) to decide the winner after both teams were tied 59-59 in the U-14 meet spread over six days.
Lokendra Singh scored 28 points, out of which nine were in OT, while Harsh Dagar added another 26 to star for the Indian side who will next take on Africa and Europe and Middle East. The girls also take on the same opponent on Thursday.
For Latin America, forward Santiago Candia scored 23 points.
“On a time-out just before the game was likely to go into Over-Time, our coach (Mohit Bhandari) motivated us to defend well and that we will surely win in the extra period. His motivatonal words helped me to take the intiative and finish the game,” Dagar said after the game.
The Indian girls, playing in the adjacent court just after the boys’ encounter, were no match to their Latin American counterparts as they went down 21-54. Patna’s Muskan Singh was the lone ranger, scoring 13 of the team’s 21 points.
“The difference was height and we were beaten by the height. I am happy that whatever was taught to them was implemented well on the court. We surely will be a different team in our next game,” girls team coach Arnika Patil said.
Indian cagers are among eight international teams inlcuding Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Canada, China, Europe & Middle East, and Mexico competing in the global meet.
For the very first time Sony Pictures Sports Network are broadcasting select Jr. NBA Global Championship games in India, totalling over 12 hours of programming.
Boys: India (Lokendra Singh 28, Harsh Dagar 26, Kushal Singh 11) bt Latin America (Santiago Agustin Candia 23, Tiziano Prome 11) 73-67 in Over Time (18-12, 16-18, 12-12, 13-17, OT 14-8)
Assists LA 15 India 9
Rebounds LA 39 India 31
Steals LA 6 India 16
Girls: India (Muskan Singh 13), lost to Latin America (Letycia Miranda 14) 19-4, 11-5, 11-8, 13-4)
Assists: LA 13 India 5
Rebounds LA 51 India 23
Steals LA 14, India 9
(Debayan Mukherjee can be reached at [email protected])