Lietkabelis win in coach Kadziulis' debut


PANEVEZYS – Apparently, the coaching change Lietkabelis just dealt with brought immediate results, as the Lithuanian side finally returned to winning ways with an easy 96-85 (26-19; 27-16; 27-23; 16-27) victory against previously unbeaten Valmiera on Tuesday evening.

Lietkabelis now hold a 3-2 record, while their opponents dropped to a 3-1 record.

The Latvian team was the front-runner in the initial minutes, as three straight three-pointers helped them pull away by a couple of baskets. However, a couple of back-to-back turnovers and solid play from Ivan Nelyubov sparked a 9-0 run that turned the tables. The Lithuanians closed the quarter with another small run and enjoyed a 26-19 lead after the first quarter.

Lietkabelis looked motivated and right out of the gates, ran off to build a double-digit lead, mostly as a result of Dainius Salenga’s two consecutive three-pointers. By the end of the quarter, the Lithuanian side had already amassed an 18-point advantage.

Nevertheless, Valmiera were not about to give in and three minutes and three Matiss Rudmiezis’ three-pointers later were only down by 12. However, Dainius Salenga kept it rolling for the team ahead, as he knocked down his fourth and fifth three-pointers to spread the gap to 21.

22 points separated the two teams after three quarters and the game was all but over. An 11-3 run allowed the visitors to shrink the lead slightly but it was not enough to create any sort of drama. Lietkabelis coasted to the finish line and Gintaras Kadziulis celebrated his first victory as the head coach of the team.

Dainius Salenga was on fire from downtown, as he buried 6 three-pointers and led the game with 24 points. Ivan Nelyubov added 19, while Zygimantas Jonusas accounted for 11 points and 9 rebounds. Evaldas Zabas also entered double-digits with 10 points to his name, while Vytenis Cizauskas nearly secured a double-double with 9 points and 10 assists.

For the losing side Marcis Vitols and Karlis Apsitis were the leading scorers with 14 points apiece, while Matiss Rudmiezis and Davis Rozitis ended the game with respectively 12 and 10 points. Maris Ziedins ended the game with 9 in his account.

TLU Kalev snap cold streak against TTU


TALLINN – Baltic Basketball League (BBL) action started early this week, as two Tallinn-based teams, TTU and TLU Kalev matched up in the Group B derby. TLU Kalev, the hosts of this match, came out on top after a dominating fourth quarter that secured them the 72-54 (14-16; 18-15; 15-12; 25-11) victory.

The hosts finally got their first victory this season and snapped a 3-game cold streak. Meanwhile, for TTU, this was the first loss in two matches.

Although TLU Kalev scored the opening points in the game, the first quarter was slightly more successful for their opponents, as they closed the 4-point gap and jumped ahead by a basket themselves. After a neck-to-neck first quarter, the visitors were ahead by two – 12-14.

We witnessed a lot of the same in the second quarter, except that this time it was the home side that finished ahead with a single-point lead.

TLU Kalev finally managed to create a tangible lead after the break, as they went on to a 9-0 run and halfway through the quarter were ahead by eight points. However, by the end of the quarter, TTU had already closed down on them and cut the margin in half.

Everything was put into places in the final quarter, when the home side ran off to another run that finally allowed them to amass their first double-digit lead. With 30 seconds on the clock, 11 points separated the two teams, but seven quick points pushed it to a 72-54 victory.

Throughout the game Thomas Droney was a headache for the opposing coach, as the big man scored 18 points, tore down 15 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. Robertas Grabauskas contributed with 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Reimo Tamm ended the game with 16 points to his name.

For the losing side, Joonas Jarvelainen was the go-to guy, as he picked up team-high 13 points and 11 rebounds. Andrew Arnold and Kristjan Makke ended the game with 10 apiece.

BBL Weekly Review: Volume 3


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.