Jekabpils finish regular season strong


JEKABPILS – Good mood was all around at the Jekabpils Sporta Nams, as Jekabpils defeated the visiting Tarvas 100-82 to finish the Regular Season with a 7-5 record, which guaranteed them third place in Group B.

Tarvas dropped to a 6-5 mark and have a game in hand, but have a negative head-to-head score against Jekabpils, having won the first meeting by a smaller margin, 74-64. However, an extra win could have a significant implications on Play-Off seeding.

Although the visitors from Rakvere started the game better and took a 21-15 lead after the first quarter, Jekabpils fired back with a huge performance in the second period. Having won the frame 35-19, the host took the upper hand and never looked back.

Up 50-40 at the interval, the home side increased the gap to 16 points before the final ten minutes of play and cruised the rest of the way.

The quartet of Rinalds Sirsnins, Sandis Silavs, Ronaldas Rutkauskas and Arturs Duselis collected 71 of the team’s points. Sirsnins was the top scorer with 19, Silavs and Rutkauskas scored 18 apiece, while Duselis added 16.

For Tarvas, Latvian guard Reinis Strupovics had a game-high 30 points, David Haughton added 12 points and nine rebounds, while Roberts Stumbris and Brandon Goode had 11 points each.

Valmiera/ORDO finish second in Group A


RAPLA – Valmiera/ORDO wrapped up second place in Group A with a 66-57 road victory against AVIS Rapla in what was the last game of the Triobet BBL Regular Season for both sides on Tuesday evening in Estonia.

The Latvian team finished group play with a 9-3 record, while AVIS Rapla, 7-5, could drop to as low as fourth in the standings if TLU Kalev win against Barons/LDz on Wednesday.

Valmiera/ORDO started the game well, taking a 19-12 lead after the opening quarter, and were up 28-22 at the end of a very low-scoring first half of the game.

For most of the third quarter, AVIS Rapla were breathing down the necks of their opponents, but the Latvian side managed to stay ahead, carrying a 47-43 advantage into the final frame.

Like for most of the game, Valmiera/ORDO relied on defense in the fourth quarter to bring them success. On the other end, Lauris Blaus was doing quite a bit of damage, as AVIS Rapla failed to contain him.

Having extended the gap to double figures with five minutes left, the guests stayed in control until the final whistle and finished the Regular Season on a positive note.

Blaus finished the game with a team-high 14 points and also had six rebounds, while Armands Skele and Davis Rozitis chipped in with 11 points each.

AVIS Rapla big man William Artino collected 15 points and 11 rebounds, Ingus Kajupank scored 13 points, while Devin Brook had 10 points.

Triobet BBL Weekly Review: Volume 11


Although there is still one week of action remaining in the regular season of Triobet BBL, five teams have already played all 12 games in the first stage of the competition. As other teams compete for play-off seeding, Lietkabelis, Liepaja/Triobet, Jurmala/Fenikss, Barsy and TTU can only wait for the events to unravel. 

Let’s take a look back at the outstanding performances of the week in another volume of Triobet BBL Weekly Review!

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER. All good things come to an end and Vytautas’ winning streak in Triobet BBL was no exception, as the Lithuanian side suffered its first defeat of the season at the hands of Jurmala/Fenikss after winning the first 10 games of the campaign. The Latvian side took care of the short-handed Vytautas 68-53 at home in Jurmala, with Ugis Pinete leading the way with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc..

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE. While TTU will certainly be happy about finishing the regular season with two wins in a row, they found their game slightly too late. The team from the Estonian capital had lost ten straight games to start the season in Triobet BBL, but defeated Jurmala/Fenikss (79-75) and Barsy (78-77) in their final two matches. It would take Port of Parnu to lose their final game against Nevezis northwards of 40 points to have even theoretical chances of making it through to the play-offs.

KEEPING IT CLOSE. Over the course of the season, Port of Parnu have won two games. Both of them came after last-second game-winning shots. Earlier in the season, Andrew Warren made one against Nevezis. This week, Mark Dorris, who replaced Warren over the Christmas break, got one too. The American guard drained a fade-away jumper with 0.8 seconds to spare, as Port of Parnu inscribed a 74-73 victory against Group A rivals Barons/LDz.

BOUNCING BACK. After two unexpected losses in a row, Valmiera/ORDO bounced back to winning ways after handling the visiting Lietkabelis at home in Latvia. The Valmiera side squeezed out an 87-85 victory against the Group A leaders, marking the debut of Roberts Stelmahers with a victory. Veteran guard Armands Skele showed how it’s done by dropping 15 points and grabbing five rebounds to guide the home side to a win.

NIP AND TUCK. It would be difficult to imagine a much closer game than the one in Jekabpils, which saw the hosts welcome Liepaja/Triobet on Wednesday. Throughout the game, neither side led by more than four points, but it was Jekabpils who triumphed down the stretch, picking up a 72-70 win after the lead changed hands 20 times and the score was tied on 17 occasions.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK. The most impressive performance of the week came in Jekabpils, where Modestas Kumpys paced the home side to a win against Liepaja/Triobet. The Lithuanian swingman scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds, dished out four assists and made 4-of-8 shots from three-point range for a total index ranking of 30.



Tarvas continue Barsy's struggles in Rakvere


RAKVERE – With teams scrambling to improve their positions ahead of the Triobet BBL Play-Offs, Tarvas managed to do just that by handing another loss to Barsy with a 102-67 victory at home in Estonia on Wednesday evening.

In a relatively closely packed Group B, the hosts improved to a solid 6-4 record with two games remaining, while Barsy finished their regular season campaign with a 3-9 mark, having lost the last five games after solid start.

A high-scoring opening quarter saw Tarvas take a 32-23 lead that grew to 57-35 at the halftime break after the Estonians won the second period as well. Latvian scoring machine Roberts Stumbris was very much at fault, having scored 18 points in the first half.

The one-sided game continued after the break, as Tarvas won the third quarter 22-14 to increase the advantage to 26 points before finishing all formalities in the final frame.

Reinis Strupovics finished the game with a game-high 26 points, Stumbris collected 21 points, while David Haughton collected 18 points and six rebounds for the Rakvere side.

For Barsy, Michael Burwell and Mikhail Yevstigneev were the only player in double figures with 19 and 11 points respectively. Ryan Cook collected nine, while Dmitriy Klimov added eight.

Jekabpils hold on against Liepaja/Triobet


JEKABPILS – No more than four points separated the teams in the all-Latvian clash in Jekabpils, as Jekabpils claimed a 72-70 win against Liepaja/Triobet at home/on the road in Group B action on Wednesday.

The first two quarters did not help to establish any sort of a gap between the sides – Jekabpils won the first quarter by a pair of points, but Liepaja/Triobet won the second period by just as many. At the half, the score was tied at 40-40.

The third quarter had its ups and downs, with the hosts once again taking a small edge, 60-58. Although the margin remained miniscule, Liepaja/Triobet had shortly got in front, but a corner three-pointer by Modestas Kumpys allowed Jekabpils to go back in front at 70-68.

Liepaja/Triobet also had multiple chances to tie the game, but two empty trips to the stripe and four missed free-throws by Karlis Grigaluns in the final minutes eventually proved too costly, as Jekabpils got the home win.

Kumpys led the hosts with a great all-around performance of 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists, his Lithuanian teammate Ronaldas Rutkauskas added 16 points and 12 boards, while Tyler Larson finished the game with 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds, but shot only 5-of-19 from the field.

For Liepaja/Triobet, Zack Stephan and Arnolds Helmanis had 14 points apiece while, Roberts Krastins collected 12 points.


Dorris sinks Barons/LDz with game-winner


PARNU – Mark Dorris drained a game-winning shot with only moments to spare, as Port of Parnu inscribed its second win of the season after taking a 74-73 victory against the visiting Group A rivals Barons/LDz at home in the Estonian resort on Tuesday evening.

Now 2-9, Port of Parnu are still in contention for a spot in the Triobet BBL Play-Offs and will have one game to improve their situation. Meanwhile, Barons/LDz dropped to 3-7 after two big wins to start the year.

Dorris finished the game with a team-high 17 points and stepped up late, when his team needed it most. Heading into the final quarter, Barons/LDz held a 61-55 edge, but the hosts battled back and tied things at 68-all with three and a half minutes remaining.

The lead changed hands a couple of times in the final period. With 21 seconds left, Hipp had given the visitors a one-point lead, but it was Dorris, who had the last say, draining a game-winner with 0.8 seconds left.

In the final possession, Barons/LDz could not get a shot off in time, allowing Port of Parnu to triumph in the end.

Joonas Jervelainen had 11 points for the hosts, while Norman Kabin and Mihkel Kirves finished the game with 10 points apiece.

Arturs Ausejs stayed hot, but 20 points from him wasn’t enough. Jason Calliste and Salvis Metra had 13 points each, but the bench contributed only nine points.

Jurmala/Fenikss hand Vytautas first loss


JURMALA – On Tuesday evening, Jurmala/Fenikss proved that nothing lasts forever by taking a 68-53 victory against Vytautas and handing the short-handed Lithuanian side its first loss of the season in Triobet BBL.

The win allowed the hosts to improve to a 5-7 record. There will be no major implications for the Group B leaders in terms of the standings for Vytautas, who now have a 10-1 mark.

A low-scoring first quarter left teams in a deadlock at 11-all after the first ten minutes of play. Although Jurmala/Fenikss did perform slightly better in the second period and went up 30-25, it was not until the second half that the hosts made a significant move.

A strong third quarter allowed Jurmala/Fenikss to run away to a secure double-digit advantage, as the short-handed Vytautas, with only seven players, tried every way they could, but there just was not enough steam in the engine to make a run in the fourth-quarter.

Ugis Pinete had a nice all-around performance with 15 points, 6 rebounds and five assists, Kristaps Mediss added 11 points, while Andrew Smith chipped in with 10 points in a winning effort.

For the other side, Vytautas Sulskis was the top scorer with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Vilmantas Dilys collected 14 points, while Laimonas Kisielius had 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists, but turned the ball over eight times before fouling out.


TLU Kalev take down AVIS Rapla


TALLINN – TLU Kalev continued their good run of play in Triobet BBL by defeating AVIS Rapla 83-57 in an all-Estonian battle in Group A on Tuesday evening in Tallinn.

The win saw the side from the Estonian capital improve to a 6-5 record, while the visitors from Rapla dropped to 7-4. Both teams have one game remaining in the regular season.

After a very close opening quarter, the hosts went on an 8-1 run to start the second period, starting to slowly pull away. By the end of the first half, TLU Kalev found themselves with a 43-30 advantage.

The game continued going very much the way the home side wanted, with the lead growing to 24 points during the third period. The fourth quarter, at that point, was merely a formality.

Thomas Droney and Dominykas Milka scored 20 points each for the winners, with the Lithuanian center also adding eight rebounds. Zach Atkinson chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.

For AVIS Rapla, Martin Paasoja was the top scorer with 14 points, but shot only 5-of-13 from the field. Ingus Kajupank was the only other player in double figures with 12 points for the visitors.

Valmiera/ORDO top Lietkabelis in Latvia


VALMIERA – Having secured the top spot in Group A in advance, Lietkabelis took the foot off the gas pedal and finished the Triobet BBL regular season with an 87-85 loss on the road against Valmiera/ORDO, who got a much-needed win after two consecutive losses.

The Lithuanian side finished group play with a 10-2 record, while Valmiera/ORDO are now 8-3 and have another game remaining against AVIS Rapla, which will decide the fate of the second place.

It was the hosts who started the game slightly better, building a 21-17 edge after the first quarter of play. However, Lietkabelis responded with a strong second period and finished the half up 41-40.

After the break, Valmiera/ORDO regained control and got back in front. With a couple of minutes played in the final quarter, the home side was up 66-59, but a couple of shots by Brandis Raley-Ross and Simas Buterlevicius quickly evened things up.

The scores was tied at 77-77 with three minutes left, but solid play down the stretch and a couple of crucial misses from the free-throw line by Lietkabelis allowed the hosts to triumph.

Armands Skele paced the winners with a team-high 15 points, Raimonds Gabrans added 14 points off the bench, while Aigars Skele chipped in with 13 points and six assists for Valmiera/ORDO.

Meanwhile, Mile Ilic was the top scorer for Lietkabelis with 15 points in 16 minutes of playing time. Buterlevicius scored 14 points, while Jermaine Love collected 13 points.

TTU finish regular season with another win


TALLINN – After starting the Triobet BBL regular season with ten consecutive losses, TTU finished it with two wins in a row, as Kirstjan Makke’s game-winner saw the Estonians nip Barsy 78-77 at home in Tallinn on Monday evening.

Having finished Group B play with a 2-10 record, TTU still have chances to make the Play-Offs if results go their way in Group A and enough Baltic teams qualify to the knockout stage of the FIBA Europe Cup.

After an excellent start of the game, the hosts went up 15-4, but Barsy responded with a 22-3 run and finished the first quarter with a 26-18 advantage. It was mostly Michael Burwell and Ryan Cook doing the damage and TTU did a better job of containing them in the second period, cutting the deficit to four points, as teams left for the interval.

The second half began with a low-scoring third quarter, which did not change much. Barsy did win the stretch by a single point, extending their lead to 58-53, but TTU stayed within striking distance.

However, a 10-0 run in the middle of the fourth quarter saw the hosts storm back in front to take a 69-67 advantage with four minutes left. Barsy had regained the lead with under a minute left, but Makke tied things up from the free-throw line, making one-of-two.

On the other end, Cook also made only one, leaving TTU 12 seconds to either win the game or force overtime. It proved to be enough for Makke, who drained a cold-blooded game-winner with no time on the clock.

Makke, Corey Raley-Ross and Kristjan Kitsing all finished with 13 points apiece for the winners, while Burwell and Cook had 22 each for Barsy.