BBL Weekly Review: Volume 3

31.10.2014

The third week of the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) proved to be the most exciting yet, as we witnessed one spectacular performance after the other, a number of buzzer-beating plays and game-winning baskets. Let’s round it all out with the third volume of the BBL Weekly Review!

MVP. Kristers Zeidaks delivered four note-worthy performances and his efforts were not left unrecognized. The forward averaged 18 points and 10.8 rebounds in four games, while shooting an outrageous 71.4% from two-point range!

RUNS. Nevezis 16-0 run in the first quarter of their match-up against Rapla looked to have put the game to bed for the Lithuanians. However, even a 15-point margin was insufficient for the home side, as Ernestas Ezerskis decided the fate of the game in just a few final seconds.

BUZZER-BEATERS. We witnessed two game changing buzzer-beaters this week, as the aforementioned Ernestas Ezerskis and Aidas Viskontas ended up on the highlight reel with their last-second shots. Ezerskis’ three-pointer against Nevezis handed Rapla the one-point victory, while Viskontas drained a contested two-pointer to push the Pasvalys-Pyrinto clash into overtime.

PERFECT. Only six of the 19 participating teams have yet to suffer a loss and only two teams – Kalev/Cramo and Valmiera have already notched three victories apiece.

RUN AND GUN. The matchup between Valga and Lietkabelis set a new season high for most points scored by both teams with 194 (99-95), while Lietkabelis also tied the result for the highest scoring quarter with 34 points.

Edgars Krumins of Valga Maks ja Moorits becomes this week’s MVP with an incredible performance against Lietkabelis. The small forward scored 27 points and tore down 7 rebounds, totaling 29 ranking points in his team’s 99-95 victory against Lietkabelis.

Evaldas Zabas was on the other side of the court, as the Lietkabelis’guard collected 28 ranking points against Valga. The Lithuanian had 28 points on near-perfect shooting.

Mindaugas Kupsas places third on this week’s list as he recorded 19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks in Kalev/Cramo’s victory against Parnu.

Three players had the same amount of ranking points and it would be a shame to single out either of them, so this week’s top five will consist of six players.

Sharing the fourth-sixth places – Jurijs Aleksejevs, Darius Griskenas and Ronaldas Rutkauskas, who all had 24 ranking points.

Maks ja Moorits’ center Aleksejevs, was close to a triple double against Lietkabelis, as he collected 18 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.

Griskenas was no less impressive, as he tallied 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists for Lietkabelis.

Ronaldas Rutkauskas debuted with a solid performance for Parnu, as he scored 18 points and snagged 7 rebounds.

Zeidaks named October MVP

30.10.2014

Kristers Zeidaks dominated throughout the month and notched his first individual award of the season, as the Tyco Rapla forward was named the Most Valuable Player for the month of October.

The 24-year-old player was mostly responsible for his team’s wondrous start of the season, as Rapla managed to hit it off with a 3-1 start.

Over the four games, Zeidaks achieved three double-doubles and averaged 18 points and 10.8 rebounds, which summed to an average of 26.3 ranking points per game, all while shooting an outrageous 71.4% from two-point range.

Zeidaks’ best performance came on the 14th of October in the season-opener against Tarvas, when he scored 26 points and tore down 11 rebounds to will his team to an overtime victory.

The award will be presented on the 4th of November in Rapla's matchup against Liepaja/Triobet.

Prienai struggle late, fall in Jekabpils

29.10.2014

JEKABPILS – After a back-and-forth contest, Jekabpils proved too strong for visiting Prienai, as they celebrated a 76-68 (19-24; 19-12; 26-22; 12-10) victory.

Jekabpils now hold a record of 2-1, while Prienai suffered their third loss in three games.

The two teams came in trading baskets at a high rate, but Prienai used a couple of successful plays on both ends of the court to push their lead to eight – 24-16. However, the hosts nailed a three-pointer and ended the quarter with a five-point deficit.

The start of the second quarter could be described as chaotic to say the least, as the teams had more turnovers than shots made during the first four minutes. With three minutes remaining, the Latvians tied the score up at 30 apiece. At the end of the quarter, Jekabpils enjoyed a fragile 38-36 lead.

As soon as Jekabpils took hold of a tangible lead, Prienai came firing right back with a run of their own and soon tied the score. Neither team could get any further from their opponents for the rest of the quarter and the fourth quarter waited with only a couple of shots separating the two teams.

Jekabpils gained momentum in the final quarter and with great plays on both ends, got away with a seven point advantage. Neither team managed to set up an attack with a successful ending for quite a while before Jekabpils finally broke the silence with two free-throws. Jekabpils looked at a 9 point lead with a minute and a half remaining and it looked all but over. The home side took a well-deserved 76-68 victory.

Rinalds Sirsins led Jekabpils in scoring with 17 points to his name. Devin Taylor scored 11 points and also grabbed 9 rebounds (6 offensive), while Janis Poznaks and Mikus Sokolovs ended the game with 10 apiece.

Giedrius Staniulis scored a game-high 19 points, while tearing down 8 rebounds. Paulius Vaitiekunas was even more dominant under the backboards, as he nabbed 11 rebounds to go along his 14 points. Sarunas Vingelis scored 13 points, while Ovidijus Varanauskas ended the game with 11 points and 7 assists.

Valga score high, edge Lietkabelis

29.10.2014

VALGA – In the high-scoring Group B clash between undermanned Lietkabelis and Valga Maks ja Moorits, the game went down to the wire and was decided only in the final moments of the game, as the Estonians notched the 99-95 (21-34; 27-18; 24-17; 27-26) victory.

The game tipped off with both teams firing at all cylinders, as the teams set this season’s record for highest-scoring quarter. Although only three points separated the two sides halfway through the first quarter, Lietkabelis, led by Evaldas Zabas, who scored 13 of his points in the first quarter alone, turned everything around in just a minute, as they quickly amassed a double-digit lead.

Clearly, the game had yet been decided and the Estonians came hustling back in the second quarter. Although Lietkabelis fought fiercely, the home side eventually managed to crack single-digits and trim the lead to just four before the halftime break.

With a couple of minutes played, the home side finally managed to jump ahead with the help of a 6-0 sequence. Valga’s success continued and they soon found themselves ahead by seven points, but the margin was soon cut down to three.

Lietkabelis closed down the gap that had begun to grow in the final quarter with a small run of their own and were already breathing down their opponents’ necks, but two consecutive turnovers by Zygimantas Janavicius helped the Estonians regain control of the six point lead. Darius Griskenas cut the deficit in half, but Valga soon responded with a two-pointer of their own.

Evaldas Zabas forced a turnover and trimmed the lead to just two. Maks ja Moorits and Lietkabelis exchanged free-throws. With 20 seconds remaining, Kalvis Krumins missed both free-throws, but Noah Dahlman could not respond with a successful shot, thus giving the Estonians to put the game to bed with two more free-throws.

Edgars Krumins was unstoppable for the victors, as he scored 27 points, while banging down 7 rebounds. Jurijs Aleksejevs was close to a triple-double, as he excelled with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Reinis Strupovics contributed 17 points, while Viljar Veski ended the game with 10.

Evaldas Zabas was no less impressive for Lietkabelis, as he scored game-high 28 points. Darius Griskenas was responsible for 20 points, while Noah Dahlman added 16 points and 9 rebounds. Vytenis Cizauskas and Lukas Aukstikalnis were also in double-digits in scoring, as they had respectively 11 and 10 points.

Juventus show Rapla no mercy

29.10.2014

UTENA – It took merely a quarter for Juventus to take care of business at home against Tyco Rapla, as they bashed past the Estonians 88-67 (27-12; 19-19; 24-12; 16-24) in the Group C match-up on Wednesday evening.

This makes it the second victory of two for the Lithuanian side, while Rapla dropped their first game in four outings.

The two teams came in hot and it was a neck-to-neck race for the first five minutes, as the visitors kept their heads above water with a 10-9 lead. However, turnovers in six consecutive possessions helped the home side to an 18-2 run to close the quarter.

The margin between the two teams hovered around 16 points for the lion’s share of the quarter and although Tyco Rapla tried to cut into single digits, Juventus killed the run with a couple consecutive baskets and 17 points separated the rivals at halftime – 48-31.

The massacre continued in the second half and three minutes in, the margin had already reached 28, before Rapla answered with two three-pointers. Juventus got them back and a 72-43 score glared on the scoreboard.

The fourth quarter was merely a formality and Juventus coasted to the easy victory.

Valdas Dabkus led the winning side in scoring with 13 points, while Arvydas Siksnius and Saulius Kulvietis contributed 12 apiece. Nikita Barinov finished the game with 11 points and 9 rebounds, as Rashaun Broadus contributed 10 points and 5 assists.

Four players were in double-digits for Tyco Rapla, as Janar Soo and Kristers Zeidaks, who also had 12 rebounds, were the two leading scorers with 15 points each. Ernestas Ezerskis added 14, while Ziga Fifolt ended the game with 10 points.

Jurmala/Fenikss no match for Barons kvartals

28.10.2014

JURMALA – Barons kvartals had no trouble in Jurmala, as they blast past Jurmala/Fenikss 90-75 (26-13; 22-14; 27-26; 15-22) in the Latvian derby.

Barons kvartals notched their first victory in three games. Meanwhile, the home team has yet to secure their first victory.

Barons kvartals stepped on the pedal right from tip-off and with only a couple of minutes played, were ahead 9-2. The visitors did not look back and had already pushed the lead to 13 by the end of the quarter.

Not much changed in the second quarter, as the visiting side kept on building their lead. While Jurmala did keep up with the pace for the first six minutes of the quarter, a 10-2 run to close the half was all it took to build an insurmountable lead. The teams were separated by 21 after two quarters.

The home team made strides to get back in the game, but they could not get any closer than 16 in the third quarter, as Jekabs Rozitis sank two three-pointers in his team’s 9-0 run to push the margin to a game-high 25 points. The two teams combined for 17 points in the last two minutes of the quarter, but it did not pull Jurmala any closer, as the teams stood far apart entering the final quarter.

Numerous misses at the free-throw line from their opponents allowed Jurmala to slightly trim the lead, but it was already too late and Barons kvartals coasted to an easy 90-75 victory.

Kristaps Valters and Andris Epners were the two top-scorers for Barons kvartals, as they scored 16 points apiece. Ernests Kalve chipped in with 13 points and 7 rebounds, while Jekabs Rozitis ended the game with 11 points. Lauris Mizis was close to a double-double in less than twenty minutes, as he had 10 points and 9 rebounds.

Edgars Jeromanovs was the leading scorer for Jurmala with 12 points. Martins Laksa and Arturs Ausejs contributed 10 each, while Martins Rozenbergs ended the game with 8 points and 9 rebounds.

Kalev/Cramo hold back Parnu's comeback

28.10.2014

PARNU – Kalev/Cramo proved too strong for Parnu in the clash between two Estonian sides. The visitors started off strong, stayed ahead for most of the game and kept their record clean with the 80-70 (22-15; 20-16; 17-23; 21-16) victory.

Kalev/Cramo now hold a 3-0 record, while Parnu have lost both of their games.

From the initial minutes it seemed that the visitors have brought more energy into the game and the scored proved it. With six minutes played, the visitors were a couple of heads in front, as they looked at a nine point lead.

While Parnu started the quarter with a seven point deficit, a couple of successful outings helped them shrink the lead to just four. However, Armands Skele scored five points in the last half minute of the half and the lead was pushed to double-digits – 42-31.

Clearly, the game had yet to be decided and Silver Leppik came out firing after halftime. With the help of his teammates, he trimmed the margin to just three in just a minute. Halfway through the third quarter, Parnu finally managed to jump ahead, as a 10-0 run gave them a three point advantage. The lead was soon wasted and Kalev/Cramo once again were in front by five.

The visitors quickly piled up a 10 point lead in the starting minutes of the final quarter, but a couple of three-pointers closed the gap to just two – 68-66. Kalev/Cramo then picked up the intensity on defense and used it to amass a double-digit lead right before the horn.

Mindaugas Kupsas was impressive for the visiting side, as he scored 19 points, while tearing down 8 rebounds and recording 3 blocks and 3 assists. Armands Skele contributed 17 while EJ Singler, who got only two of his ten three-pointers to fall, and Martin Dorbek finished the game with respectively 14 and 13 points. Dorbek also accounted for 8 assists.

As far as the losing side goes, Ronaldas Rutkauskas scored 18 points and added 7 rebounds. Sandis Silavs and Rannar Raap ended the game with 12 points each.

Valmiera brush past TLU, go 3-0

28.10.2014

VALMIERA – In a game of runs, Valmiera turned out victorious and gave the thousand home fans something to cheer about, as they fought their way past TLU Kalev to take the 73-63 (20-15; 10-23; 23-13; 20-12) victory.

Valmiera have now won three straight games, while TLU Kalev have done the exact opposite – this is their third loss in three games.

The matchup between the two teams started off as close as possible, with both teams trading baskets one after the other. Midway through the quarter the score was all tied at 10 apiece and the home side was able to get some breathing space only at the end of the quarter, as a 6-0 run in the final minutes of the quarter pushed the score to 20-15.

Just seconds into the second quarter, the sight changed – the visitors arranged a 9-0 run. As soon as the home side evened the score, Erik Luts took matters into his own hands. The forward scored 10 points in the second quarter alone and gave TLU an eight-point edge going into halftime.

After halftime, Valmiera seemed to have come alive and halfway through the quarter were down by just two. They closed out the quarter strongly and entered the final ten minutes with a two-point advantage.

The breakthrough of the game started in the midst of the final quarter, as Valmiera used a 16-2 run to jump ahead 71-57. The final few minutes were merely a formality.

Martins Vinauds highlighted Valmiera’s offensive game with 23 points. Marcis Vitols chipped in with 17, while Davis Rozitis and Kristaps Dargais both ended up with double-doubles of respectively 11 and 10 points, alongside 10 rebounds.

Erik Luts finished as the highest scorer for TLU Kalev with 16 points and 9 rebounds to his name. Thomas Droney added 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Reimo Tamm ended the game with 10 points.

Pasvalys survives overtime drama

28.10.2014

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

28.10.2014

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.