City girls Shomira Bidaye and Dhara Phate scored 49 points and helped the West Region team outclass Kerala 78-49 to win the NBA National Championship at Noida on Sunday. Four city girls were part of the West Region team that won the 12-team National Championship conducted by the National Basketball Association (NBA) — organisers of the World best basketball league in America.
In the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA National Finals 12 teams in both the boys and girls’ section participated and the five-day event was held at the NBA India Academy courts of the Atlantis Sports Club, Jaypee Greens, Greater Noida, Delhi NCR from April 24 to 28.
In the one-sided girls’ final, Shomira Bidaye of Centre Point School Katol Road emerged the top scorer with 28 points while Dhara Phate of BVM Trimurti Nagar contributed 21 points to guide West Region register a thumping 29-point title triumph over Kerala. Other city players Sameeksha Chandak (from BVM Trimurti Nagar) and Swati Wankhede (of Saraswati Vidyalaya) too played well and scored identical four points in the final.
Earlier in the semifinals the West Region team defeated Bangalore 54-31 and in the quarterfinals they made light work of Delhi 42-27. American professional basketball player Harrison Barnes from the Sacramento Kings distributed the trophy to the champion West Region Girls team. In addition to the city girls, four city boys too were in the West Region boys team.
The West team, however, lost in the quarterfinals against East region 23-45. The four city players who were in the team include Taaran Kakkad, Aditya Sharma (both Centre Point School, Dabha), Hardik Mange (Somalwar School, Nikalas) and Laksh Joshi (School of Scholars, Wanadongri). Swati Kadoo of Centre Point School, Dabha, was the caretaker manager of the West Region team.
All these eight players were from various schools of the city and for the first time that NBA, the organisers of the World’s Best Basketball League in America, selected Nagpur cagers for their National championship. These players were selected from NBA’s first comprehensive youth basketball initiative in Nagpur where they organized an inter-school tournament at the Nagpur University courts recently. For all the selected players the NBA took all the responsibilities of travelling expenses (by air), players’ lodging and boarding. President of Nagpur District Basketball Association (NDBA) Sandip Joshi, Secretary Bhavesh Kuchanwar and all the members congratulated all these selected players.