Goldengate College has won the first ever NCell Cup U-18 Basketball Tournament in the expense of Liverpool College.
It turned out to be a game of nerve in the end as Goldengate came back to claim the winner’s trophy and the cash prize after going behind early on by a good margin.
Liverpool had marched forward leaving Goldengate behind 17-6 at the end of the first quarter. And with relative ease as well.
But come second quarter, Goldengate turned things around. They slowly crept in to close the gap down to just one point (26-25).
With little over a minute to go into half-time, Goldengate for the first time in the game took the lead from Liverpool, courtesy Jasang Sunwar two points from just inside the three point boundary. Liverpool players guilty of giving him too much space.
Liverpool’s Ashish Basnet quickly pulled off his signature jump shot to retake the lead at 28-27. But the turn of fortunes in the second quarter had a major impact on Liverpool players who have time and again lost nerves in a high pressure game.
Going into the half-time, Liverpool still had a slender lead of one basket. But that didn’t stick for long after the break; as they didn’t seem to overcome the pressure. Two of their best shooters, Ashish and Samir, unfortunately had a terrible game in the third quarter. To give you an idea; Ashish, whos is a reliable shooter, ended up hitting three airballs in this game. And Liverpool’s heavy reliance on the two shooters was, unfortunately, their downside.
Ajay Kunwar, who has built up reputation as an unstoppable bulldozer, was also handled pretty well by the Goldengate players as they harassed Liverpool players on every possession. Surprisingly without giving away that many fouls.
On the other hand, Goldengate players had a mix of players who held their nerves and scored; specially at crucial times.
Kunkhen Lama who went on to become the best player in the tournament along with Jasang Sunwar and Yubaraj Tamang all chipped in to score 17 points in the third quarter. Liverpool could only manage 6 points.
Two quick lay ups from Ajay and a three pointer from Samir had given Liverpool some hope towards the end; But Kunkhen, Jasang and Yubaraj made sure that it was Goldengate who was going home with the Rs 100,000 cash, the winners trophy and the gold medals.
Final score: Liverpool 49-54 Goldengate (17-06, 13-22, 06-17, 13-09).
Fortunately, unlike other tournaments, Liverpool also had a relatively good cash prize of Rs 75,000 and a runner up trophy to go home with but had they held their nerves they could have won the game.
Liverpool coach was fuming at the end, clearly unhappy with some of the refereeing decisions. Unfortunately, he couldn’t share that with the media as the tournament rules forbade coaches talking to media people.
Morgan College finished third in the tournament after beating Prime College in the early game and walked home with Rs 50,000 cash prize and second runner up trophy as well as medals.
Liverpool’s Ashish Basnet received the award for the highest scorer in the tournament. He was also the highest scorer on the day with 17 points.