SXC Cup 2017: Xavier Int’l retain men’s, women’s title

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Xavier International College has become the champions of St. Xavier’s College Basketball Tournament 2017 in both men’s and women’s game for the second year running.

Xavier Int’l ladies defeated the hosts, St. Xavier’s College at the women’s final while the Xavier men sidelined IST to bag the title.

Women’s final: St. Xavier’s vs Xavier Int’l

In what was the repeat of last year’s final, hosts St. Xavier’s were still found wanting…still not good enough to overcome their nemesis…the defending champions — Xavier Int’l College.

The writing was on the wall though…After an easy defeat of the home team when these two met earlier in the group phase of the tournament, Xavier Int’l College was obviously expected to win.

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Nabina Budhathoki guarding Maya Rai (no. 4 with the ball)

Home side did put up a lot better fight in defense. Nabina Budathoki guarded Xavier Int’l shooter, Maya Rai, like a rash through out the first half…but that didn’t stop her from scoring 10 points as well as dominating on rebounds in that period. Even if the hosts had dealt with Maya, there was Sabina Magar and Shanti Shrestha to contend with…. both of whom have been in top form.

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Maya Rai picks up injury in third quarter; Xavier Int’l head coach, Nirpesh Shrestha on the help.

Maya was forced out through leg injury in the third quarter but that didn’t bring the home side any joy. Xavier Int’l continued to punish St. Xavier’s through Shanti Shrestha who picked up where Maya had left off. Her contribution eventually earned her the MVP award in the end.

Maya was well enough to come back in the final quarter to further add to her scoring tally…..taking it to 15 points on the day…while Sabina also got on the double digit scoreline.

On the other side, Nabina had a fantastic game, scoring 17 points as well as exceptionally good defending but the rest of the team couldn’t quite raise their game to make a difference.

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St. Xavier’s College Basketball women’s MVP, Shanti Shrestha.

Xavier Int’l opened up a 9 point margin within few minutes of the match and ended first quarter leading 16-06. Following that added more more margin in each of the subsequent quarters to take the win and the title.

Final score: St. Xavier’s 31-53 Xavier Int’l (06-09, 09-14, 06-09, 10-14).

Highest scorer: Shanti Shrestha – 16 points (Xavier Int’l) / Nabina Budhathoki – 17 points (St. Xavier’s).

Men’s final: IST vs Xavier Int’l

On paper, equally matched…but the defending champions, Xavier Int’l, had the advantage of pedigree — their winning ways; while IST are yet to get the taste of title wins at this level. Clearly nerve got the better of some of the IST players.

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Rabin Guatam on the drive.

Only two points separated the two in the first quarter though. IST point guard / forward, Rabin Gautam, penetrated on the inside well and Binit Jung Rana found the basket from the outside to keep them in the game.

However, they couldn’t guard Xavier Int’l shooter, Binesh Neupane, as well as they should. He hit them on the inside from all sides — from the baseline, from the elbow and on fast breaks….

First sign of defending champions’ dominance started to appear in the second quarter, as IST couldn’t penetrate on the inside with Xavier Int’l big men defending well. On the outside, Binit’s shots dried up and Shashwat Bikram had an unusually bad day. While on the other side, Binesh kept shining. And when he was guarded well, Sailesh Gurung got to the hole in the middle of the paint to punish IST.

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Shashwat Bikram looking distraught.

And the worse was to come. After the half-time break, although Binesh couldn’t produce his magic, rest of the Xavier Int’l men rose up to the challenge…Yubaraj Tamang and Dinesh Lama in particular going on to score 16 points between the two as Xavier Int’l built up a gap of 15 points at the end of the third quarter. By this time, IST key players had lost all hope.

The margin grew to over 20 points mid-way through the fourth quarter. Neupane went on to add further 10 points in the final quarter.

Finally, once the pressure of the game was off, Shashwat (twice the highest scorer in this tournament) got his shooting confidence…hitting 3 treys. But it was too little too late.

In the end, Xavier Int’l comfortably held on to take the title of the St. Xavier’s College Basketball Tournament 2017 Champions…

Xavier Int’l talisman, Binesh Neupane, finished as the highest scorer on the day with 32 points. He couldn’t quite break his record of over 40 points from last year in this tournament but it was still the highest individual score in a match in this edition of the tournament. Neupane went on to win the MVP award for his contribution.

This is the second year running that Xavier Int’l has won the title in both men’s and women’s game.

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IST fans

IST, although second best in the tournament….had the best group of fans… If there was a prize for best supporter…they certainly deserved it. Bigger in number and full support right the way till the final buzzer, although they had pretty much lost the game by mid-way through the fourth quarter.

Final score: IST 58-74 Xavier Int’l (17-16, 09-16, 15-23, 17-18).

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St. Xavier’s College Basketball Men’s MVP, Binesh Neupane.

The winners and the runner-ups of the tournament were awarded cash prizes as well as the trophy, medals and certificate.

Winner of the women’s game, Xavier Int’l, received cash prize of Rs 30,000 while the runner-up, St. Xavier’s, received cash prize of Rs 20,000. While in the men’s game, the winners, Xavier Int’l, received Rs 25,000 in cash and the runner-up, IST, received Rs 15,000.

The prize money for the women’s game was sponsored by Mrs. Bulbul Shrestha and specifically meant for the enrichment and encouragement of girls…hence more than the men. While the cash prize in the men’s game was funded through the revenue generated from other means including tournament entry fee.