RAPLA – We witnessed a nail-biting performance in Estonia on Wednesday evening, as AVIS Rapla managed to overcome visiting Lietkabelis 84-78.
It was the second game in two days for the Lithuanian side, both with two different outcomes. Both teams now hold a record of 1-1 in Group A.
AVIS Rapla got off to a hot start, as William Artino's 6 points and 3 boards in just three minutes led the way to a 9-2 start. Nevertheless, the lead was soon swiped away, as Lietkabelis piled up a 9-0 run of their own.
While the Estonians managed to finish the initial quarter on a higher note, Lietkabelis soon erased the small deficit and ignited another run, eleven-to-nothing. It was now the Lithuanians ahead by 8 with twenty minutes of basketball remaining.
After a horrible second quarter and a 2-8 start of the second half, Rapla finally managed to get a grip. They won the five final minutes of the third quarter 17-6 and were back within one before the final period.
Lietkabelis once again managed to blast ahead, and yet again it was met with a 12-2 run by AVIS Rapla. The two sides continued to trade blows like heavyweights, but Devin Brooks finally delivered the knock-out with a clutch long-range shot to give the Estonians a 5-point advantage with half a minute remaining.
The undermanned visitors could not respond and the home side celebrated a tough victory.
Devin Brooks starred for the winning side, as he swished and dished for 19 points and 7 assists, while also tabbing 6 rebounds. Martin Paasoja contributed 18, while William Artino ended the game with 14 points and 8 boards. Indrek Kajupank and Kristjan Voolaid were also in double-digit scoring with 12 and 11 points respectively.
Arturas Valeika shined as the go-to-guy for Lietkabelis, as he totaled 23 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Arnas Labuckas chipped in with 17 points and 5 steals, while Brandon Wood ended up with 14 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Lukas Aukstikalnis connected on three of his five attempts from long-range and finished the game with 12 points.
RAKVERE – In the evening’s first Group B matchup, Rakvere Tarvas managed to come out on top against visiting Jekabpils, as a fourth-quarter surge got them past their foes 74-64.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair from the get-go, as neither side was willing to give any sort of advantage to their opponents.
While the first quarter was as close as it gets, Jekabpils managed to set themselves up with a 9-point advantage mid-way through the second. Tarvas eventually evened the score with two minutes remaining in the first half, but the Latvians managed to finish the quarter with 4 unanswered points and hit the halftime with a 32-28 advantage.
In the close-as-ever third quarter, the two sides exchanged baskets one after the other, with neither side able to create a tangible lead for themselves.
Tarvas were only down by one point before the final quarter and it seemed that the game would perhaps be decided only by the last shot. Nevertheless, the Estonians slowly and steadily pulled away with a great performance on the defensive end. With a minute remaining, they were already up by 8 and Jekabpils missing three after three certainly helped their case.
Roberts Stumbris set the tone for Tarvas with 24 points and 6 rebounds, while David Haughton chipped in with 16 points and 8 boards. Brandon Goode was also strong around the rim and finished the game with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Rinalds Sirsnins and Ronaldas Rutkauskas were the leading scorers for Jekabpils, tallying 14 points apiece. The latter also contributed 8 rebounds. Tyler Larson was also in double digits with 13 points in his account.
TALLINN – Lietkabelis continued their successful start of the season in Triobet BBL, earning their second victory in Group A by outduelling TLU Kalev 75-67 on the road in the Estonian capital Tallinn on Tuesday evening.
It was the first game of the season for the hosts in the competition.
The team from Panevezys started the game strong and went up 26-15 after the first quarter, with their advantage growing to 36-19 in the second period. However, TLU Kalev did not panic and finished the first half with a 13-2 run to cut the deficit to six points.
Lietkabelis remained in front, but the Estonians got within striking distance in the third quarter, putting pressure on the visitors. Three minutes into the final period, TLU Kalev were down only 57-60, but the guests scored 13 points in a row to answer all remaining questions.
Arturas Valeika was the game’s leading scorer with 12 points and six rebounds for Lietkabelis. Valdas Vasylius and Arnas Labuckas collected 11 points apiece.
Johnny Barhanemeskel had a team-high 12 points for TLU Kalev, Reimo Tamm scored 11 while, Kaido Saks had 10.
PRIENAI – Vytautas improved to a 2-0 record in Group B of the Triobet BBL after claiming an 88-71 victory over Jurmala/Fenikss at home in Prienai on Tuesday. One of the league favorites started the game slow, but went on to register the win without complications.
The road team from Latvia managed to keep the game close in the beginning, trailing only 24-26 at the end of the shoot-out style first quarter. After increasing the distance to seven points at the break, Vytautas broke away for good after the interval.
Although Jurmala/Fenikss had closed the gap to 47-50, the Lithuanians shot ahead 15-1 to go up 65-51. Having finished the third quarter up 69-53, Vytautas allowed their second unit to snatch up the victory in the fourth quarter.
Laimonas Kisielius had 18 points, Vytautas Sulskis and Vaidas Cepukaitis finished with 15 points apiece and had eight and nine rebounds respectively.
Edgars Jeromanovs finished as the leading scorer for Jurmala/Fenikss with 13 points, with Ugis Pinete adding 10.
TALLINN – Jekabpils got their win count rolling in the new Triobet BBL season, pushing past TTU 84-65 on the road in Estonia on Tuesday night in a Group B game between two previously winless teams.
The visitors went up by double digits already in the first quarter, taking a 23-13 lead after the opening frame. However, TTU managed to slice the deficit to 33-37 before the halftime break.
Although Jekabpils had shortly re-established a double-figure lead in the second half, the hosts trimmed down the gap once again, keeping the deficit manageable.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Kiur Akenparg’s basket had made it a five-point game at 59-64, but the Latvians responded with a 5-0 spurt to regain a firmer grip on the game.
Rinalds Sirsnins scored 19 points for Jekabpils, Ronaldas Rutkauskas had 17 points and nine reounds, while Modestas Kumpys added 15 points.
Kiur Akenparg had a game high 32 points for TTU, but it wasn't enough to keep the Estonian side in the game.
KEDAINIAI – After struggling to find the rhythm in the early going, Nevezis picked up the pace in the second half and snatched their first win of the 2015-16 Triobet BBL campaign by taking an 85-60 victory against the eight-man Barons/LDz on Tuesday evening in Group A action in Lithuania.
Neither side managed to establish a firm grip on the game, but the visitors from Riga found themselves in front 25-20 at the end of the opening period after a 6-0 run to finish the quarter.
However, Nevezis regained a slight edge in the second quarter. Led by Vaidotas Volkus, who had 11 points in the first half off the bench, the hosts finished the first half up 44-42.
An 11-0 run in the third quarter saw Nevezis increase the gap to 55-44 and, having allowed only five points in the period, led 60-47 heading into the last frame, where they sailed to an easy win.
Grant Johnson led all scorers with 15 points for the Lithuanian team, Vaidotas Volkus and Darius Gvezdauskas chipped in with 13 points each, while Saah Nimley finished with 12.
For Barons/LDz, Roberts Freimanis had a team-high 13 points, with Derrick Roland and Davis Zonne adding 12 apiece.
VALMIERA – Before the official start of the 2015-16 Triobet BBL season on Tuesday evening in Valmiera, various well-known personalities took to the court at the Vidzeme Olympic Center to mark the league’s new partnership with its new title sponsor Triobet with a charity game.
Celebrities, high-ranking basketball officials, politicians, actors and journalists joined BBL and Triobet representatives in a game between the Triobet Dream Team and a united team of BBL staff and journalists.
After getting off to an excellent start of the game, it was the Triobet team that cruised to an easy 56-36 victory. The sides donated a total of €1,000 to Valmiera’s SOS Children’s Village and Valmiera Region Community Foundation.
After the friendly game, Triobet was presented as the league’s new title sponsor in an official press conference, where a symbolic agreement was signed.
JURMALA – Jurmala/Fenikss made sure that TTU would have a quite ride home from Latvia, as they took care of business and earned a 65-59 victory on Wednesday evening.
The Estonians were held scoreless for the four final minutes of the initial quarter and it turned it to a one-sided affair for Jurmala/Fenikss. The home team enjoyed an 11-point advantage after the first quarter.
TTU, however, managed to cut the deficit in half by halftime and were already up by three midway through the third quarter. Nevertheless, another scoring drought helped Jurmala/Fenikss regain composure and reestablish an 8-point advantage.
The home side never really seemed to be in trouble in the final quarter, as they kept it at least a two-possession game. They kept moving forward and finished the game ahead by six.
Ivars Zvigurs scored 15 points off the bench, while also totaling 7 rebounds to lead the way for the Jurmala side. Endru Smits came close to a double-double with 9 points and 8 rebounds, while Maris Ziedins and Edmunds Elksnis added 8 points apiece.
PANEVEZYS – After forty minutes of hard-nosed basketball, Lietkabelis managed to go out on top 78-71 against Nevezis in the first Lithuanian derby of the season.
The two Lithuanian sides traded basket for basket in the early stages of the game and neither side could grasp a tangible lead, with a 13-11 lead for the home side.
After a low-scoring first quarter, Lietkabelis managed to pick up the pace and slowly build a double-digit lead. The visitors cut it down to six and now faced only a 32-38 deficit midway through the game.
Nevezis were on point in the third quarter and an 11-2 run allowed them to finally sneak ahead. The game was truly a nail-biter in the making, as only two points separated the teams before the final quarter.
The visitors didn't have as much luck in the final quarter, as they crumbled in the five final minutes. Lietkabelis enjoyed a double-digit lead with two minutes on the clock and safely coasted to the finish line.
Arnas Labuckas was the top-scorer for the home side with 17 points in his tab, while Brandon Wood contributed 16 to the win. Arturas Valeika was also in double digits with 10 point and 6 rebounds. Jermaine Love, who also dished out 6 assists, and Lukas Aukstikalnis ended the game with 8 apiece.
Taylor King led the way for Nevezis with 18 points in just 20 minutes of game time, while Darius Gvezdauskas chipped in with 13. Grant Johnson ended up with 11 points, while Saah Nimley scored 9 in his team's loss.
JEKABPILS – Vytautas showed Jekabpils no mercy in their first game of the season, coasting to an 85-67 victory in the Group B matchup on Wednesday evening.
Vytautas jumped off to an incredible start and a 17-2 stretch had them up by 15 merely six minutes into the game. The score dwindled down before the quarter ended and Jekabpils were back in single-digit range.
While the visitors had trouble finding the basket early on in the second quarter, their stifling defense helped them stay in charge. The shots finally started falling and Vytautas galloped to a 48-32 lead before the halftime break.
It seemed to just get worse for the home team after the half-time break, as the margin soared to the mid-thirties. With a 22 point lead after three quarters, it was apparent that the final quarter would be merely a formality.
The whole starting unit was in double digits for Vytautas, as Vaidas Cepukaitis led the way with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Gytis Sirutavicius added 13 points to the tally, while Laimonas Kisielius and Sarunas Vasiliauskas chipped in with 12 apiece. Vytas Sulskis ended the game with 11 points and 8 boards.
For the losing side, it was Sandis Silavs leading the way, as he scored 14 points. Tyler Larson was good for 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Janis Poznaks finished the outing with 8 points.