Valmiera shine in thrilling comeback

PRIENAI – Prienai suffered their second loss of their Baltic Basketball League season playing at home, where they fell just short of victory, trembling 66-68 beneath Valmiera in the dramatic Group B matchup.


The teams are now sitting on opposite sides of the standings, as Valmiera has won both of their games, whereas Prienai have now lost two straight.

Right from tip-off, the two teams looked like worthy opponents and for the first five minutes neither team could surmount any sort of lead. However, two long-range shots from Sarunas Vingelis helped Prienai jump ahead by seven, but the Latvians were soon back breathing down their necks. Only three points separated the two teams after the first quarter.

Prienai fans had more to cheer about in the second quarter, as after an 11-2 run, their team was already ahead by twelve points. The Lithuanian team held on to the lead and brought a double-digit advantage into the second half.

However, things fell apart for Prienai in just a couple of minutes late in the third quarter, when Valmiera finally managed to get a long-range shot to fall. Or, to be exact, four consecutive three-pointers to fall. The 14-2 run finally allowed the Latvians to jump ahead.

The lead changed hands numerous times in the final quarter and with 35 seconds remaining on the clock the score was still tied at 66. Marcis Vitols managed to score after the time-out and gave his team a slim two point lead with 16 seconds remaining.

Ovidijus Varanauskas missed a go-ahead three-pointer for Prienai. Domantas Seskus quickly stopped the clock with a foul but the Lithuanian side was still under the limit. Martins Vinauds made a mistake handling the ball, but Vidmantas Sragauskis missed the golden opportunity to win his team the game with a last-second three-pointer.

Three players were in double digits for the winning side, as Kristaps Dargais led the way with 12 points. Martins Vinauds and Viktors Iljins both chipped I with 10, while the latter also tore down 9 rebounds.