Bens beat Royal to take cager title - Angu Rajendran
|Bens beat Royal to take cager title |
Amazing what God can do! Before the most exciting final, Vishva Palitharatne – St Benedict’s captain said “We were over-confident in the zonal games that’s why we lost the North zone title to St Josephs.
Now we have decided to take every team seriously and leave the A division final against Royal College in God’s hands.” God answered their prayers towards the last few minutes of the match as St Benedict’s pulled ahead when the scores stood at 66-all.
In the first quarter, Royal played with great enthusiasm and there was no stopping their center, Julian Gunasinghe who stayed under the basket and scored and rebounded to build Royal’s score to 21 for St Benedict’s 18 points.
A few three pointers from Royal forwards Ashen Menuka and Sandeepa brought Royal to a comfortable lead in the first half.
Royal was on top at the half way mark 43/34. St Benedict’s tried their many fancy shots which Royal forced them to take and missed so many shots.
The second half saw a ‘new’ St Benedict’s team on the court. They played a front court press for just one minute and took three under- the- basket shots without the ball ever coming to Royal’s offensive court.
The Royalists were completely rattled under pressure and committed many fouls.
When Julian got his fourth foul, early in the fourth quarter, it was as if the match was over for Royal. Julian did not defend or rebound or even take a single shot for fear of getting his fifth foul.
With a man on their ball- handler Sandeepa Ratnayake, Royal virtually fought a losing battle in the fourth quarter.
Frederic Moraes kept the morale of the Benedictines up by making crucial baskets and giving brilliant passes. Of course Ben’s coaches Festus Perera and Asanga Perera depended completely on Praveen Ganlath who literally won the match for Bens with his unstoppable left-handed hook shots.
Praveen drove through every small gap and despite missing many shots in the first half, came back with his hook shots thrilling the home-court audience with a win 88/79. Praveen Ganlath was awarded the Most Valuable Player award while Frederic Moraes and Julian Gunasinghe were awarded Best Offensive and Best Defensive players respectively.
For Bens – Praveen Ganlath(34) and Frederic Moraes (25) top scored while for the Royal it was Ashen Menuka (18) and Sandeepa Ratnayake (20) were the top scorers.
In the consolation finals, St. Joseph’s beat St Sebastians in a close match 68/61. Brendon Keyser (13) and Pruthuvi Fernando(9) and Suchintha Udugamalagala (14) top scored for the Joes while Nishen Perera (16) and Rajin Fernando (19) top scored for the losers.
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