The Senior Nationals is arguably among the biggest tournament in the Indian domestic basketball circuit.
At the culmination of its 69th edition in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, on January 12th, Team Punjab was crowned champions of the Men's category.
Here are the highlights from the Men's final:
The tournament, organised from January 5th to 12th 2019, consisted of 32 teams in the Men's category and 27 in the Women's category. Each category had a Level 1 and Level 2, which were based off last year's standings.
Level 1 of the Men's category had two Groups of 5 team's each. In Level 2, Groups C and D had five teams each while groups E and F had six. Level 1 of the Women's category had two Groups of 5 team's each. In Level 2, Groups C had five teams while the other three groups - D, E & F had four teams each.
At the end of the group stage, the top three teams from each group in Level 1 automatically qualify for the quarterfinals while the bottom two teams from Level 1 get relegated to Level 2. Meanwhile, the four best Level 2 teams play each other in order to qualify for a pre-qualifier against the fourth-seeded team from each group of Level 1 respectively.
The winner of these pre-qualifiers play the top-seeded teams from each group in Level 1.
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To start the tournament, Punjab (Men) was part of Group A in Level 1 alongside Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. They went 3-1 in the group stage with their lone league stage loss coming against the defending champions Tamil Nadu.
In the quarters, they faced Uttarakhand and beat them 74-53. In the Men's final four, Punjab avenged their league stage defeat to Tamil Nadu by defeating them 70-66 and in the tournament finale, Punjab overcame Services to be crowned Champions.
On the other hand, in the women's category, the Indian Railways team repeated as champions.
#69thSeniorNationalChampionshipFinals- #IndiaBasketball (@BFI_basketball) January 12, 2019
Team Indian Railways Vs Team Tamil Nadu
Congratulations to Indian Railways team. pic.twitter.com/Fvb7vXkFvU
Similar to the Punjab men, the Indian Railways women's team was positioned in Group A of Level 1 alongside Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi, and West Bengal. They went unbeaten through the group stage, and then cruised to a 43-point win over the Punjab women in the quarterfinals. In the final four, they dominated again and this time won by 41 against Chhattisgarh.
Finally, the Indian Railways repeated as Champions in the Women's category by defeating Tamil Nadu in the final 88-71.
Scores courtesy: Basketball Federation of India/Twitter & Sunnu Studio/Facebook