Tyco Rapla make it two in a row

Photo: Siim Solman, SolmanFOTO

RAPLA – Tyco Rapla won their second game in a row in Group A, taking down the visiting Valmiera 71-68 on Friday evening to improve to a 3-7 record.

Having strung together a couple of victories, Rapla is making a late playoff push, while the visitors from Latvia dropped to a 5-5 mark.


Valmiera started the game better, taking a 19-12 lead after the first period. Led by scoring ace Janis Kaufmanis, who had 16 in the first two quarters, the guests increased that margin to 43-30 at the halfway point.

However, the script flipped completely in the second half, as Tyco Rapla started making a push in the third quarter. Following a 7-0 stretch to end the period, the hosts had managed to cut it to 55-56.

With four minutes left, Valmiera was still up 65-62, but Slovenian big man Ziga Fifolt knocked one down from deep, Martin Paasoja swished two free-throws and Fifolt added two more points from inside.

Despite falling behind 69-65, Valmiera stayed closed with Janis Kaufmanis making it a one-point game with three points in a row. However, Kaufmanis made a crucial turnover with five seconds on the clock, resulting with Sven Kaldre sealing the win for Rapla with a lay-up.

Ziga Fifolt led Tyco Rapla in scoring with 16 points, while Rait-Riivo Laane and Sven Kaldre finished the game with 11 points each.

Valmiera’s top-scorer was Janis Kaufmanis with 24 points and nine rebounds, and Ernests Kalve added 18 points, despite going 1-of-8 from three-point range.