Indian men’s basketball team go down fighting against Qatar in FIBA U-16 Asian Championship 2023 pre-quarters
The youngsters will now play in the classification matches.
The Indian men’s basketball team lost a close encounter to host Qatar (84-87) in the pre-quarterfinals of FIBA U-16 Asian Championship 2023. The young Indian colts finished their group stage campaign on the 2nd spot after registering win’s over Lebanon and Sri Lanka.
In the pre-quarterfinals today, the young Cagers started strongly in the 1st quarter scoring 12 successive points – including four back-to-back 3 pointers. Qatar were yet to open their account with India raising away with a giant 12-point lead inside the first few minutes. However, the hosts came back strongly and narrowed down the deficit by scoring 20 points out of next 33 points.
This helped Qatar reduce lead by five points in the end of 1st quarter. Hoopster Mohit Jogchand was star performer for the Indian team scoring 14 points in 1st quarter itself.
From trailing in the opening quarter, Qatar carried forward the momentum in the following round leading by eight points. The Indian team struggled a lot in the 2nd as they were unable to put the ball inside the basket and Qatar took this to their advantage taking rebounds and scored 13 straight points in the first few minutes of the 2nd quarter.
At (25-28), Indian head coach announced time out and substituted captain Lavish and Jins Kalayil Joby for Ankush and Adavan Chellam. But despite making the substitution, the young hoopsters struggles continued in the remaining minutes of the quarter. Overall, India could muster only 15 points scored only with Qatar scoring a whopping 32 points.
In an effort to turn things around, Indian head coach once again made a substitution at the start of the third quarter. Captain Mohit Jogchand and Jins Kalayil Joby were brought in place of Aryan Sharma and Mithun Vel Dhanasekar. Although India scored more points than Qatar in the 3rd quarter, still there were enough chances India could not capitalize upon and going into the final quarter the trail was brought down to eight points (64-72).
The final quarter turned out to be a humdinger with both teams on the brink of a victory. India before the finals quarter were trailing by eight points but with great fighting spirit they tied the score line in the penultimate minute of the encounter. With just a minute left the match turned out be more exciting than expected.
In the final minute, Qatar were awarded two free throws for the offensive foul by the Indian team but Azzam Rami missed both the free throws helping India’s cause. At (84-87) with six seconds left in the clock India had two three pointer opportunities and the youngsters missed both the chances to hand Qatar a close win at the FIBA U-16 Asian Championships 2023.
Captain Lavish and Lokesh Sharma were star performers for the Indian team as the duo scored 23 points each. Meanwhile Mohit Jogchand was the second-best Indian scorer with 21 points.