KBL 2018: Kirtipur comeback puts Xavier in trouble


Kirtipur made a remarkable comeback in the final few minutes to make it four wins in four at the Kwik’s Basketball League (KBL) 2018 as Xavier Int’l lose the game they should’ve won.

Xavier Int’l lead all the way to the final quarter in relative comfort but then they couldn’t handle the pressure in the end as they surrendered 22 point lead. A must win game, lost in the end. Their fourth straight defeat….disaster for the hosts.

The hosts had opened up a lead of 10 points in the first quarter and maintained the lead until the third quarter. Xavier point guard, Anish Magar, scored 11 points in the first quarter, Rakesh Shrestha was good on the inside. While Nikesh Magar was scoring his fare share and Binesh Neupane had improved his game. Birthday boy, Khunkhen Theeng was also on target, scoring two treys in the third quarter.

But still the gap was just 12 points at the end of the third quarter. Xavier sorted that early in the final quarter as they extended the gap. Anish Magar once again led the charge to take the margin to 22 points. But once Xavier centre, Ajay Kushwaha, was subbed after committing his fourth foul, things changed that allowed Kirtipur to close the gap down to 14 points.

Worse was to come and most of it was down to Xavier Int’l players losing their nerve. Suraj Khadgi hit two treys which did more than close the gap down to 8 points….it shook Xavier Int’l players… enough to give Kirtipur the upper hand.

Moments later, Khadgi followed that with a lay-up and another 3-pointer that brought the gap to just 3 points. And, Abhisekh Singh levelled the game with a lay-up at 72 points a piece. Around 19 seconds before the final buzzer, Abhisekh Singh put Kirtipur on lead with another lay-up.

With 6 seconds remaining, Khunkhen had the chance to put Xavier ahead but he converted just one of two free throws…. only enough to take the game to overtime.

Neither side looked clear favorite in the overtime. Kirtipur did just about enough to go on lead and held on to bag their fourth win.

Final score: Xavier 83-85 Kirtipur

By the final moments of the overtime, the light condition had diminished so much that it was difficult to see the backboard….fans in one end of the court did what they could to see out the game…switching on their mobile phone lights to help out.

Xavier vs Kirtipur KBL 2018

Xavier players were voicing it was too dark to continue….it would have been sensible to call off the match but they were out of luck. With one team leading at the time…seconds remaining…it was a difficult decision for oganisers. Unfortunately, team on lead never agrees to postpone a game in this situation.

Suraj Khadgi, who made the game changing contribution for Kirtipur today, received the Player of the Game prize for his efforts.

Suraj Khadgi_KBL2018_Player_of_the_Game_Xavier_Kirtipur
Suraj Khadgi (right) receives Player of the Game prize for the second time at the KBL 2018.

Xavier Int’l College head coach, Nripesh Shrestha said after the match that his players were over confident today.

“It was a must win game for us”, he said. “We should have won. But we lost.”

After losing their fourth game in a row, what now for Xavier Int’l? Shrestha said, “Every game from now will be a must win game for us.”

“We’ll do better”, he added.

Meanwhile, ANK Kirtipur Basketball Team head coach, Rabindra Maharjan said they were lucky towards the end.

“We pressed hard in the final quarter and we got some luck with our shot attempts”, he said.

When asked how significant the unbeaten run was for his team, Maharjan said, “It’s a young team. It will give us a lot of motivation and confidence.”

“But most of all this game was a great experience for our boys”, he said. “It is not often we face situation like this. It was good for boys to to get experience like this.”

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