Pasvalys survives overtime drama


PASVALYS – Pieno zvaigzdes and Pyrinto made Tuesday evening even more spectacular with an overtime drama in Lithuania. The home side erased a double-digit fourth quarter deficit to send the game to overtime, where they finally edged the visiting Finns 76-74 (18-22; 15-14; 17-22; 19-11; 7-5).

Pieno zvaigzdes kept their record clean, as it states a 2-0 start for them, while Pyrinto suffered their first loss in three match-ups.

The home team got off to a quicker start and after a couple of three-pointers was ahead 8-2. However, Pyrinto responded with a 10-1 run which now had the visitors in front. For the remainder of the quarter, the two sides exchanged successful trips down the court and neither team could grab hold of a tangible lead.

The team from Finland seemed in control in the second half, as their lead quickly rose to 9. Nevertheless, they could not hold on to the safe margin for a long time – a series of Pasvalys’ free-throws cut the lead down to just three.

After halftime, Pyrinto were once again the aggressors and seven consecutive points gave them a 43-33 lead. This time, however, they managed to hang on to the lead and started the final quarter with an eight point advantage.

While Kevin Parrom opened the fourth quarter with a basket that pushed the lead to ten, that was a far as Pyrinto got. A one-man show from Tauras Jogela, who scored 12 points in the fourth quarter alone, followed by six Evaldas Kairys’ points allowed the home side to close in and then tie the score with the clock expiring.

Pieno zvaigzdes could not find a basket for half of the overtime, but luckily for them, Pyrinto only managed to score three points themselves. With a minute and a half remaining, Tauras Jogela struck gold from long-range, as he tied the score at 74.

While the visitors could not convert on the other end, Aidas Viskontas was good on both of his free-throws, leaving a two-point deficit for Pyrinto and 10 second to make something of it. Antero Lehto missed the go-ahead three-pointer and the home side celebrated a 76-74 victory.

Tauras Jogela was the leading scorer for Pieno zvaigzdes, as he scored 18 points to go alongside his 9 rebounds. Evaldas Kairys, who also had 9 rebounds, and Osvaldas Olisevicius chipped in with 13 apiece. Point Guard Aidas Viskontas had the only double-double of the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Antero Lehto scored 18 points for the losing side, while Topias Palmi contributed 14. Asenso Ampim added 11 points and 9 rebounds, while Damon Williams finished the game with 10 points and 8 boards.

Ezerskis' buzzer-beater wins it for Rapla


KEDAINIAI – In one of the most exciting matchups of the season Rapla managed to get back up from a 16-point deficit and take care of Nevezis 71-70 (10-16; 20-10; 15-15; 26-19) in buzzer-beating fashion on Tuesday evening.

Rapla now stand tall with a 3-0 record, while Nevezis sit in the gutters of Group C with three losses to their name.

For the first three minutes, the teams went neck to neck, as Rapla held a 7-6 lead. However, a 16-0 run by Nevezis turned the game around. The Lithuanians allowed merely three points in the last 7 minutes of the quarter and were safely ahead with a 26-10 lead.

The sight was teams traded places in the second quarter, but we saw more of the same – the teams traded blows for the first couple of minutes, before Rapla took initiative to get back in the game. The Estonians responded with a 12-3 run and at the end of the half were down by just six.

Nevezis were quick to regain the double-digit advantage. After seven consecutive points from the home team, they were once again ahead by 14. However, their success offensively soon ran out, as Rapla managed to keep their opponents scoreless for more than four minutes and entered the final quarter with a 6 point deficit.

Within a minute in the last quarter, the Lithuanians were up by 12, but Rapla was not about to give up. Persistence paid off, as the deficit quickly shrank to just five. Nevezis had trouble finding a basket and they already found themselves trailing by three points with just two minutes on the clock.

Five straight points from Nevezis once again pushed the home side ahead, 70-68. Janar Soo missed a go-ahead three-pointer with seven seconds remaining, but Rapla recovered the ball with an offensive team rebound. After a time-out play, Ernestas Ezerskis beat the buzzer with a game-winning three-pointer and Rapla celebrated their third victory in thrilling fashion – 71-70.

Kristers Zeidaks accounted for 19 of the team’s points and 9 rebounds. Rapla’s hero of the day, Ernestas Ezerskis, was impressive with 18 points, while Janar Soo chipped in with 13. Rait-Riivo Laane ended the game with 12.

Vaidotas Volkus was the go-to guy for Nevezis, as he scored 16 points and 7 assists before fouling out in just 22 minutes of playing time. Sarunas Kulevicius scored 12 points, while Aurimas Adomaitis had 11 before leaving the court due to foul trouble. Roderick Camphor finished the game with 10.

BBL Weekly Review: Volume 2


It’s been only two weeks into the season but we have already witnessed some spectacular moments and nail-biting clashes. The Baltic Basketball League (BBL) rounds it all up as we present you the second volume of the BBL Weekly Review.

FANS. Kalev/Cramo set the new season high for attendance, as they attracted 1500 fans to their home game against Barons kvartals. The crowd ignited a 90-71 victory for the Estonians. The only other team that was able to attract more than a thousand fans was Valmiera, as 1205 fans watched their victory against Jekabpils last week.

THREE-POINT THREAT. After attempting seven three-pointers (converting on only two) last week, Rinalds Sirsnins took it a step further, as he shot 12 in this week’s match-up against Valga Maks ja Moorits. This time, however, he was much more successful, as he made 7. Sirsnins has only attempted 3 two-point field goals, while his long-range tally has now reached 19.

FREE POINTS. Tyco Rapla have played some aggressive basketball to start the season and it has paid off. The Estonian side leads the league both in free-throw attempts with 37.5 and in free-throws made with 28.

RUNS. The match between Tarvas and Dynamo Moscow ends up here with both teams accounting for 12-nothing runs. After 11 lead changes throughout the game, Tarvas was able to hold home grounds and take an 82-77 victory.

EXPERIENCE. Damon Williams, who will soon turn 41, still keeps much younger defenders in awe. Not only did he set this season’s record in blocks with 5, but he was also the best all-around player for Pyrinto. Williams is now averaging 12 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 23.5 ranking points.

Two players share this week’s MVP award, as TTU’s Andrew Arnold and Jekabpils’ Rinalds Sirsnins collected 28 ranking points each. Besides the 18 points Arnold collected, he also had 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks to fill out his stat sheet. This performance helped TTU to a victory in their first game of the season.

Sirsnins’ team was also successful, as they trampled Valga Maks ja Moorits. Sirsnins was locked in from outside the arc and managed to collect 24 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.

Kristars Zeidaks followed his MVP-worthy performance from last week with another great outing. The Estonian scored 12 points, tore down 11 rebounds and dished out 4 assists to reach 27 ranking points.

A member of the top five performers last week, Kaspars Cipruss is here once again, as he recorded 15 points and 11 rebounds in Tarvas’ victory against Dynamo Moscow. Two weeks in, he’s the league’s best rebounder and second in overall efficiency.

Joonas Jarvelainen closes the top five with an equally impressive performance, as the forward tallied 24 points and 8 rebounds in TTU’s victory over Lietkabelis.

Tyco Rapla defeat Dynamo, go 2-0


RAPLA – Tyco Rapla got their second win of the season by defeating the visiting Dynamo Moscow 74-70 in Estonia on Thursday in Group C action.

The hosts got off to a superb start, taking a 15-6 lead six minutes into the game after Ernestas Ezerskis drained a three-pointer. However, Dynamo rebounded after a poor beginning of the game to finish the opening quarter trailing only 14-17.

The Russian side took the over the initiative in the second quarter, going up 33-27 after Alimadzan Fediushin made one-of-two from the free-throw line, but the Estonians responded with a quick 5-0 run and only one point separated the sides at the interval at 32-33.

Teams exchanged leads in the third quarter, but the Moscow club maintained a slight advantage, entering the final quarter of play with a 52-50 edge.

However, Tyco Rapla had the last say in the game, taking a 63-57 lead midway through the final frame after a 6-0 run and held on to the advantage until the final buzzer.

Rait-Riivo Laane led the winners with 19 points, Rait Keerles collected 14 points, while Martin Paasoja collected 12 points for the Rapla team.

Meanwhile, Denis Zakharov was the leading scorer for Dynamo, with Alexey Kuznetsov and Bendzhamin Dudu chipping in with 11 points each.

TTU down Lietkabelis


TALLINN – TTU Tallinn started their new BBL campaign on a positive note, taking down the previously undefeated Lietkabelis Panevezys 84-77 at home in Estonia on Thursday evening.

Three minutes into the game, the hosts were down 7-10, but won the remainder of the opening quarter 10-2 to take a 17-12 lead. The gap soon increased to double digits with Joonas Jarvelainen slamming home a dunk to make it 24-14.

TTU led by as many as 15 points in the first half (33-18), but Lietkabelis managed to scale down the deficit to 35-25 at the halftime break with Zygimantas Jonusas ending the half with a successful layup.

The Lithuanians had got within 47-53 at the end of the third quarter, but a convincing fourth quarter saw TTU restore a double digit advantage and stunned the group leaders.

Joonas Jarvelainen had a game-high 18 points and 9 rebounds for TTU, while Andrew Arnold and Kiur Akenparg chipped in with 18 and 17 points respectively. 

For Lietkabelis, Zygimantas Jonusas collected 18 points, Noah Dahlman had 17 points and 15 rebounds, while Zygimantas Janavicius added 13 points and five assists.

Jekabpils bounce back against Valga


JEKABPILS – Jekabpils bounced back after a tough loss last week and secured their first win in this season’s Baltic Basketball League with an 86-65 (21-19; 24-20; 17-16; 24-10) victory against Valga Maks ja Moorits.

Both Jekabpils and Valga now stand at a 1-1 record.

Jekabpils had the upper hand from the initial moments, as they started the game with a 9-0 snip. After two consecutive three-pointers from Rinalds Sirsnins, the margin had already reached 11. However, Maks ja Moorits came running back and had already jumped ahead by one with 15 seconds left, but Mikus Sokolovs’ buzzer-beating three allowed the Latvians to regain control of the game.

The lead changed hands multiple times in the second quarter, but once again, Jekabpils finished the quarter on a higher note and held a six-point lead going into halftime.

Just as soon as the home side managed to regain a tangible lead, Maks ja Moorits would mix up the cards with a run of their own, thus the game went back and forth with the visitors always breathing down their opponents’ backs. Before the final ten minutes, the Latvians were in front by seven.

While the start of the last quarter was edge to edge, two more three-pointers from Sirsnins opened up the game for the home side and the went on to put up a 20-5 run to put the game out of reach.

Jekabpils’ Rinalds Sisnins converted on 7 three-pointer in total and was clearly the best player in the game. He amassed 24 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Devin Taylor added 14 points, while Pavels Veselovs and Povilas Cukinas finished the game with 13 and 10 points respectively.

Jurijs Aleksejevs was the only bright spot in what was pretty much a dull performance from the Estonians. He scored 18 points and tore down 11 rebounds. Edgars Krumins chipped in with 11 points, while Maris Laksa ended the game with 9.

TLU Kalev no match for Cizauskas' Lietkabelis


TALLINN – Lietkabelis had no trouble facing TLU Kalev, as they led for the entire forty minutes of the game and tabbed an 86-68 (31-14; 15-20; 21-15; 19-19) victory in Group B.

With this victory, Lietkabelis now holds a 2-0 record after they took care of Prienai last week. For TLU Kalev, this was the second loss in two games.

We could figure out which direction this game would turn in the first two minutes of the game, as Lietkabelis stormed off to an 11-0 start. The Lithuanian side would not allow their opponents to cut into their deficit and by the end of the first quarter, were already up by 17.

A combination of great defense and offense early on allowed the team from Panevezys to establish a 20-point advantage in the second quarter, which, however, was cut in half in a mere few minutes. The duo of Reimo Ramm and Robertas Grabauskas, who scored respectively 11 and 7 points in the second quarter, managed to trim the lead to ten.

For the greater part of the second half the margin balanced around 15-20 points and was never cut into single-digits. The Lithuanian team coasted to a well-deserved 86-68 victory.

Vytenis Cizauskas made a statement for the weekly top five with his performance, as the point guard tallied 25 points and 5 rebounds. Evaldas Zabas contributed 12 points, while Mantas Kazonas finished the game with 11. Noah Dahlman was responsible for 9 points and 8 rebounds.

Three players accounted for 60 of the team’s 68 points, as Reimo Tamm led the way with 23, while Raido Roos, who also had eight rebounds, and Robertas Grabauskas contributed 19 and 18 respectively.

Nevezis powerless in Liepaja


LIEPAJA – Nevezis were left dazed and confused after they faced Liepaja/Triobet, as the Lithuanian side did not stand a chance against this year’s BBL Cup winners and suffered a 65-93 (13-24; 18-29; 13-15; 21-25) defeat.

This was Liepaja’s first game of the season, while Nevezis were handed their second defeat already.

Thomas Davis kicked the game off with a three-pointer for Nevezis and that was the first and last time the Lithuanians even got close to a lead. Liepaja/Triobet responded with a 13-3 run and were off and running.

While Nevezis started the second quarter with an eleven-point deficit, a 7-0 run allowed them to trim the margin to just four. Just a couple minutes later though, the home side was once again up by double-digits. An 11-1 run to finish the half was enough to build an insurmountable lead, as Liepaja/Triobet were already up by 22 points.

Liepaja’s lead shrank to 15 before skyrocketing to 24 at the final minutes of the third quarter. Not surprisingly, the fourth quarter was merely a formality and the Latvians cruised to an easy victory.

Five players reached double-digits in scoring for Liepaja/Triobet, as Edgaras Zelionis led the team with 15 points. Arnolds Helmanis added 14, while Lauris Blaus contributed 13 points and 9 rebounds. Janis Antrops and Dwayne Johnson had respectively 12 and 11 points.

Ignas Ramasauskas was both the top scorer and rebounder for Nevezis. He scored 14 points and gobbled up 9 boards. Marcus Monroe converted on three three-pointers to help him tally 11 points, while Deividas Kumelis chipped in with 10 points.

Tarvas triumph despite early struggles


RAKVERE – Dynamo Moscow’s debut in the Baltic Basketball League turned out not as successful as they had hoped. In the close Group C match-up Tarvas defended home grounds against the visitors from Russia and mounted an 83-77 (16-21; 21-16; 24-22; 22-18) victory.

Tarvas now stand with a split record of one victory and one loss, while their opponents hold a 0-1 record.

Dynamo Moscow kicked off their debut game on a very high note, as Pavel Gromyko scored ten straight points and singlehandedly pulled his team to a double-digit lead not even halfway through the first quarter – 14-2. However, the Estonian side soon woke up from the knock-down punch they’d just received and set up a 12-0 run of their own and were soon breathing down their opponent’s necks.

The two teams went back and forth, neck to neck for the lion’s share of the quarter and after the score was all tied after the first half.

Dynamo seemed in control once again after the break, as they tallied 10 consecutive points to pull ahead by eight. However, Tarvas clearly stated that they would not back down. They came racing back and managed to set themselves up with a two-point lead before the final quarter.

A couple of three-pointers gave the Estonians their first tangible lead, as the jumped ahead by 10 with half of a quarter remaining. Dynamo rallied to their final storm and shrank the 13-point deficit to just three in merely a minute. Roberts Stumbris missed one of his free-throw attempts, thus keeping hope alive for the Russians. However Bendzhamin Dudu could not make either of his free-throws, while the Estonian side made good of theirs. The final score – 83-77.

Kaspars Cipruss was a force down low, as he scored 15 points, tore down 11 rebounds and swatted away three shots. Roberts Stumbris also scored 15, while Brandis Raley Ross ended the game with 13. Juris Umbrasko and Martin Jurtom also reached double-digits in scoring, as they tallied 11 and 10 respectively.

Pavel Gromyko scored 17 points for the losing side. Valentin Iurchik added 15, while Aleksandr Fomin chipped in with 13 points. Denis Zakharov ended the game with 10.

Kalev/Cramo's winning ways continue


TALLINN – Kalev/Cramo used a big third quarter run to easily slip past Barons kvartals and take the 90-71 (24-18; 26-26; 22-12; 18-15) victory in what was perhaps one of the most anticipated match-ups of the night.

The Estonians’ impressive play helped them to a 2-0 record, leaving Barons kvartals with two losses to their name.

Barons kvartals found themselves on the outside looking in very early on, as their opponents only needed three minutes to build a solid lead – after a three-pointer from Reinar Hallik, the Estonians were already ahead by seven. The Latvians managed to finally close the gap to three points with a minute on the clock, but Gregor Arbet’s buzzer-beater from behind the arc pushed it back to six.

The second quarter was as high-scoring as it gets, as both teams answered got into a long range shooting frenzy. The two teams combined for 10 three-pointers, but this did not make the outcome any clearer, as the score stayed pat.

Kalev/Cramo finally managed to break the game after halftime, as they combined outstanding defense with up a 17-3 start of the quarter to push the margin to 20 points. All the Latvian side managed to do before the final quarter, was to cut the deficit to sixteen.

While a couple of successful trips, allowed Barons kvartals to get back into single-digit range, a 12-0 run for Kalev/Cramo seemed to have put the game to bed.

The leading side managed to keep hold of the double digit lead and ended up taking a 90-71 victory.

Armands Skele was the top gunner for Kalev/Cramo, as he dropped 19 points. Reinar Haalik scored 14, including four three-pointers, while EJ Singler chipped in with 11. Erik Keedus was solid with 10 points.

Ernests Kalve and Jekabs Rozitis were the two top scorers for Barons kvartals, as they both managed to score 15 points apiece, Kaspars Kambala missed most of his shots but was still able to nab 11 points. Kristaps Valters only hit one of his eight long-range attempts and ended the game with 10 points to his name.