PRIENAI – Vytautas finished the 2015-16 Triobet BBL Regular Season as the best team in the league after finishing their Group B campaign with a 63-56 victory against Tarvas at home in Prienai on Wednesday.
The Lithuanian side finished the group stage of the competition with a league-best 11-1 record, despite being bothered by injuries throughout the season. Meanwhile, the Estonian club finished fourth in Group B, with a 6-6 mark.
Having previously secured the top spot in the group, Vytautas coach Virginijus Seskus limited the minutes of his key players, but still came out victorious.
It was the guests who got off to a better start, winning the first quarter 19-16, but the hosts did not allow the lead to get out of hand, going up by a single point at the halftime break at 38-37.
A 17-7 third quarter allowed Vytautas to establish control of the game and could afford an eight-point fourth quarter with second unit players, getting the win that gave the best Regular Season ranking in the league.
Paulius Ivanauskas was the only player for the winners in double figures with 13 points, Vytautas Sulskis scored eight nine points, while Kajus Okmanas, Laimonas Kisielius and Dainius Salenga had eight points each.
For Tarvas, Roberts Stumbris had a game-high 16 points, Reinis Strupovics collected 13 points, while Brandon Goode finished the game with 10 points and nine rebounds.
KEDAINIAI – On the last day of the Triobet BBL Regular Season, Nevezis grabbed a ticket to the Play-Offs after securing fifth place in Group A with an 82-76 home victory against Port of Parnu in Kedainiai on Wednesday evening.
The hosts led from start to finish and finished group play with a 4-8 record, while the visitors from Parnu could not climb out of the bottom and ended up seventh with a 2-10 mark.
After getting off to an excellent beginning, Nevezis led 18-6 already six minutes into the game. Although Port of Parnu quickly erased the double-digit figure, they were always one step behind.
Leading 44-33 at the halftime break, the hosts allowed the visitors to get within three points in the fourth quarter, but eventually sealed the win from the free-throw line.
Darius Gvezdauskas had 18 points for the winners, the big man in the middle for Nevezis, Mindaugas Kupsas, finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, while Taylor King collected 12 points and nine boards.
For Port of Parnu, Mark Dorris finished with a game-high 26 points, Robert Valge added 17 points, while Paulius Petrilevicius chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
RIGA – Barons/LDz grabbed a solid home victory against TLU Kalev to finish the Triobet BBL Regular Season on a positive note, defeating the visitors from the Estonian capital 94-88 at the Daugavas Sporta Nams on Wednesday.
The Latvian club finished sixth in Group A with a 4-8 record and can be sure of a place in the Play-Offs. TLU Kalev, 6-6, finished group play in fourth place, having booked a Play-Off ticket in advance.
The hosts were the better team right from the get-go, taking a 25-16 lead after going on a 6-0 run to finish the first quarter. Barons/LDz increased the gap to 52-42 at the halftime break, with Salvis Metra and Arturs Ausejs leading the way for the home side.
Although the Riga team could not pull away any further, their advantage stayed around the 10-point margin, with TLU Kalev mounting a couple comeback efforts, all of which fell short.
Ausejs finished the game with a team-high 21 points for the winners, Roberts Freimanis had 18 points and five assists, while Metra added 16 points and five assists. Jason Calliste chipped in with 15 points and nine rebounds
For TLU Kalev, Dominykas Milka had a game-high 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Johnny Berhanemeskel collected 20 points, while Zach Atkinson finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
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.
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.
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.
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 – 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.
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 – 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.