Pyrinto prove too strong for Jurmala


TAMPERE – Pyrinto grabbed their second victory today as they were forced to break a sweat against Jurmala/Fenikss 79-69 (25-17; 16-16; 17-19; 21-17) in their first home game of the season. 

Pyrinto improved to a 2-0 record with the victory. Meanwhile, their opponents lost for the second time, turning it into a 0-2 start.

For the first part of the quarter, the teams looked equally matched, as they kept on exchanging baskets. However, 9-0 run created some breathing space for the home side, as they rallied to their first double-digit lead – 19-8. But clearly, the Latvians were not about to let their opponents drift apart. They answered with 7 consecutive points and closed in on their foes, only to be upset by a quarter-ending three-pointer that stretched Pyrinto’s lead to eight.

Jurmala couldn’t manage to get any closer in the second quarter despite Martins Rozenbergs four long-range bombs. While they managed to cut the gap to four, Pyrinto responded with a couple of great offensive plays and were back ahead with a tangible lead. After two quarters the scoreboard glared a 41-33 lead for Pyrinto.

After a couple of two-pointers from Ervins Jonats, the lead was cut down to just three points, yet Pyrinto were ruthless with their long-range shooting. After three shots from behind the arc, the Finns once again held a somewhat safe 9-point lead.

While the teams were separated by only six at the start of the final 10 minutes, Alex Vaenerberg once again pulled his team farther ahead. The Finnish team then converted on a couple back-to-back possessions and managed to hold on to the ten-point lead.

Asenso Ampim led Pyrinto in scoring with 17 points, Antero Lehto added 12, while Topias Palmi and Alex Vaenerberg ended the game with 11 apiece. Forty-year-old Damon Williams was the most effective player for Pyrinto, as he stuffed the score sheet with 9 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and five blocks.

Arturs Ausejs led the way for Jurmala/Fenikss with a team-high 15 points. Ervins Jonats, who also tabbed 9 rebounds, and Martins Rozenbergs both chipped in with 12 points.

Valmiera shine in thrilling comeback


PRIENAI – Prienai suffered their second loss of their Baltic Basketball League season playing at home, where they fell just short of victory, trembling 66-68 beneath Valmiera in the dramatic Group B matchup.

The teams are now sitting on opposite sides of the standings, as Valmiera has won both of their games, whereas Prienai have now lost two straight.

Right from tip-off, the two teams looked like worthy opponents and for the first five minutes neither team could surmount any sort of lead. However, two long-range shots from Sarunas Vingelis helped Prienai jump ahead by seven, but the Latvians were soon back breathing down their necks. Only three points separated the two teams after the first quarter.

Prienai fans had more to cheer about in the second quarter, as after an 11-2 run, their team was already ahead by twelve points. The Lithuanian team held on to the lead and brought a double-digit advantage into the second half.

However, things fell apart for Prienai in just a couple of minutes late in the third quarter, when Valmiera finally managed to get a long-range shot to fall. Or, to be exact, four consecutive three-pointers to fall. The 14-2 run finally allowed the Latvians to jump ahead.

The lead changed hands numerous times in the final quarter and with 35 seconds remaining on the clock the score was still tied at 66. Marcis Vitols managed to score after the time-out and gave his team a slim two point lead with 16 seconds remaining.

Ovidijus Varanauskas missed a go-ahead three-pointer for Prienai. Domantas Seskus quickly stopped the clock with a foul but the Lithuanian side was still under the limit. Martins Vinauds made a mistake handling the ball, but Vidmantas Sragauskis missed the golden opportunity to win his team the game with a last-second three-pointer.

Three players were in double digits for the winning side, as Kristaps Dargais led the way with 12 points. Martins Vinauds and Viktors Iljins both chipped I with 10, while the latter also tore down 9 rebounds.

BBL Weekly Review: Volume 1


The first week of Baltic Basketball League (BBL) action is already in the books so let’s take some time to round up this week’s performances with the first volume of the BBL Weekly Review!

THE RETURN. Kaspars Kambala returned to Latvian basketball with a bang, as he led Barons kvartals both in scoring and rebounding with 14 points and 11 boards. The big man also managed to swipe the ball four times.

CENTURY. Pieno zvaigzdes were the first team to hit triple-digits in scoring, as they rose to a 104-87 victory against Barons kvartals.

NO BENCH? NO PROBLEM. In Kalev/Cramo’s victory against Jurmala/Fenikss, only six players from the Estonian side managed to get on the scoresheet. Starters accounted for 77 of the team’s 82 points. The team from Jurmala had six times higher bench-scoring despite the fact that they were thrashed by 31 points.

RUNS. Valmiera was the team that managed to put up the biggest run this week, as they used a 18-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to ignite a 82-55 victory against Jekabpils.

Kristers Zeidaks becomes the first MVP of the week this season with a very impressive showcase, as he tallied 26 points, while shooting 75% from the field. The big man also nabbed 11 rebounds that led to his 33 ranking point total.

Thomas Droney of TLU Kalev finishes second on the list as he set the scoring bar quite high with a league-best 30-point outbreak. Alongside the scoring, Droney was just as impressive battling under the boards, where he tallied 10 rebounds, leading to a total of 31 ranking points.

When talking about the game Viktors Iljins had, efficiency is the first word that pops to mind. The Latvian converted on 9 of his 10 field goals, helping him to 21 points. He also tore down 10 rebounds, thus tying for the second place with 31 ranking points.

Tarvas’ Kaspars Cipruss had a monstrous night under the basket, as he set the season record with 17 rebounds. To go with that, Cipruss also added 22 points, amassing 30 ranking points.

His teammate Roberts Stumbris was equally impressive, as he scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. However, even the two 30-ranking point performances couldn’t save Tarvas from a 90-95 overtime loss against Tyco Rapla.

Jurmala/Fenikss no trouble for Kalev/Cramo


TALLINN – Kalev/Cramo took no prisoners in their game against Jurmala/Fenikss and bashed through their Latvian foes 82-51 (28-18; 18-17; 17-4; 19-12) in the Group A matchup on Wednesday evening.

The Estonian side was not ready to play around and went onto a 13-2 run early on to gather a double-digit lead not even halfway through the first quarter.

The club from Jurmala managed to close scratch single digits with a three-pointer from Janis DIlevka, followed by a series of free-throws from Edgars Jeromanovs, but the 32-26 score was as close as Jurmala got. The home side managed to reestablish an 11-point lead before halftime, as the score showed a 35-46 deficit for the visitors.

The home side came out locked in after the half and only allowed four points throughout the third quarter, while tallying 17 for themselves. Before the final quarter, it was all but over – a 24 point lead was in the hands of Kalev/Cramo.

The margin just grew in the final ten minutes and reached a game-high 31 points with Erik Keedus’ free-throw.

The starting unit was accountable for 77 of Kalev/Cramo’s 82 points, as Mindaugas Kupsas led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Kristjan Kitsing also accounted for a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards, while EJ Singler scored 16. Rain Veideman ended the game with 13 and Martin Dorbek chipped in with 10 points.

Ervins Jonats and Edgars Jeromanovs were the two lone scorers in double-digits for Jurmala, as the tallied 14 and 13 respectively. Martins Laksa finished the game with 9 points to his name.

Pieno zvaigzdes sour Kambala's return


RIGA – Kaspars Kambala’s return to the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) was marked with a loss for his Barons kvartals side, as the Latvians fell against Pieno zvaigzdes, 87-104 (26-34; 27-20; 16-23; 18-27) in the Group A matchup.

We saw some high tempo offense for the visiting side very early on, as they needed merely four minutes to grasp a 16-7 lead. While Barons kvartals came rushing back with six consecutive points, an 8-0 run for Pieno zvaigzdes tilted the game in a different direction – the score after the high-scoring first quarter was 26-34.

The pace did not slow down in the second quarter, as the home team ran off to a 9-0 run to tie the score early in the quarter. The teams traded blows like heavyweight boxers and neither team was able to amass a tangible lead before the end of the first half.

Things changed at the end of the third quarter, as the Lithuanians used a 10-1 run to regain control of the double-digit lead they once had.

Pieno zvaigzdes delivered the knock-out punch with a 13-0 run at the beginning of the final quarter. As the lead sky-rocketed to 20, the game was already decided with 5 minutes still on the clock.

Gytis Sirutavicius was the leading scorer between the six Pasvalys’ players with double-digit scoring, as he collected 18 points. Aidas Viskontas chipped in with 15 points and 6 assists, while Evaldas Kairys ended the game with 14.

Kaspars Kambala debuted with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead his team in both categories. Kristaps Valters added 13, while Lauris Mizis and Davis Zonne ended the game with 12 apiece.

Fourth-quarter revival spurs Valmiera past Jekabpils


VALMIERA – After being pulled back and forth for three quarters, Valmiera finally took matters into their own hands and used the final ten minutes of the ballgame to secure a blow-out 82-55 (16-11; 15-15; 18-18; 33-11) home victory against Jekabpils in Group B of the Baltic Basketball League.

The game started slowly for both team, as they struggled to find easy looks. However, Valmiera was slightly more successful on the offensive end and managed to jump ahead by five after the first quarter.

Baskets started finding the net more in the second quarter and Valmiera used an 8-0 run push the margin to eleven. By the end of the half, nevertheless, Jekabpils were back in it, as the gap shrank back to five.

The home side managed to kick the second half on a high note and was up by double-digits in a matter of minutes. But yet again, the visitors were quick to respond and the deficit swiftly melted. The sides were separated by the same five points entering the fourth quarter

Apparently, that was when everything clicked for Valmiera. They opened the final ten minutes with an 18-0 run to take control of a 67-44 lead and there was no turning back from that point on.

Viktors Iljins had game-highs with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the winners, while Karlis Apsitis ended the game with 18. Martins Vinauds contributed 10 points to the victory.

Two players hit double-digits in scoring for Jekabpils – Pavels Veselovs scored 16, while Devin Taylor chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Lietkabelis early to leave Prienai in dust


PANEVEZYS – A terrific first quarter set the groundwork for a big Lietkabelis’ victory against their Lithuanian foes Prienai. The Group B battle ended without many surprises, as the home side cruised to a 89-67 (20-7; 28-20; 21-15; 20-25) victory.

Lietkabelis shocked their opponents right from the get-go, as the kept their opponents scoreless for six minutes, while scoring 12 points of their own. The margin stayed in double digits for the remainder of the quarter.

The home side was stronger at the start of the second quarter as well and after a 10-0 run, Lietkabelis was already ahead 33-11. The home team managed to keep hold of the huge lead and entered halftime with a 21-point lead.

Not much changed after in the second half, as the Panevezys side’s lead kept expanding, before it reached game-high 27 points at the end of the third quarter. Prienai could not mount a miracle comeback and ended up falling 89-67.

Zygimantas Janavicius was the backbone of Lietkabelis’ offense, as the point guardscored 13 points and dished out 11 assists. Tautvydas Lydeka also scored 13, while Evaldas Zabas added 10.

Dominykas Milka led Prienai with 14 points, Ovidijus Varanauskas and Paulius Vaitiekunas had 11 each, while Vidmantas Sragauskis ended the game with 10.

Parnu's late rush not enough to down Pyrinto


PARNU ­– After a thrilling third quarter comeback, Parnu nearly came to upset Pyrinto in the first matchup of Group A on Wednesday evening. The Estonian club rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit just to fall short 74-70 (24-12; 18-15; 13-30; 19-13).

Pyrinto were on the upper end from the initial minutes, as the first six points of the game, which quickly turned into a double digit lead not even halfway through the first quarter.

We saw the margin reach 16 points in the second quarter, before the home side answered with a 7-0 run to cut into single-digits. However, Pyrinto managed to play out the final minutes of the half strong and improved their lead to fifteen – 42-27.

It took only six minutes for the tables to turn. What seemed to become a blow-out loss soon turned into a nail-biting thriller of a game, as Parnu had already converted on six three-pointers in the second half and were back in the game. The scoreboard already blasted a 57-55 lead for the home team.

The fourth quarter was nip and tuck, as neither team managed to run ahead more then by four points. With a minute remaining and the score tied, Antero Lehto nailed down a clutch three-pointer, which gave Pyrinto some breathing room. They made good of their free-throws and came out on top – 74-70.

Damon Williams was the leading scorer and rebounder for Pyrinto, as he had 15 and 10. Asenso Ampim and Kevin Parrom contributed 13 points, while Antero Lehto chipped in with 11.

Silver Leppik and Sandis Silavs were the main guns for Parnu, as they scored respectively 21 and 20 points. Renato Lindmets was also in double-digits with 11 points.

Nevezis blown out in season-opener


KEDAINIAI – The first Lithuanian derby in the 11th season of the Baltic Basketball League ended in a blowout, as Juventus bashed past Nevezis in tremendous fashion, taking a 88-64 (20-19; 27-17; 25-15; 16-13) victory in Group C matchup.

While the first quarter seemed as close as it gets, as both teams exchanged successful outings and neither team could gather a tangible lead – the score was 20-19 and Juventus were ahead by one.

Things changed drastically in the second, as the side from Utena quickly pushed the margin to double-digits, mostly with the help of their multiple three-pointers.

The visitors kept the intensity high in the second half as well and a 9-0 run early gave them an insurmountable 20-point lead. Any Nevezis’ attempt to reduce the gap would soon be rebuffed and Juventus forcefully finished the game with an 88-64 lead.

Six players ended the game in double-digits for Juventus, as Saulius Kulvietis and Nikita Barinov led the way with 16 points each. Arvydas Siksnius scored 14, while Valdas Dabkus finished the game with 13 points and eight rebounds.

For the losing side, Rytis Biliartas, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, and Sarunas Kulevicius were the leading scorers with 12 points apiece, while Andrius Aleksandrovas ended the game with 10.

Maks&Moorits secure first victory


VALGA ­– After a disappointing season in the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) last year, Valga Maks&Moorits started the 11th BBL season on a high note, taking care of TLU Kalev at home with a 86-75 (26-15; 24-27; 20-17; 16-16) victory on Tuesday evening.

The home side took control of the game from the get-go, jumping ahead by seven with only a minute and a half played. While their opponents soon answered with a small run of their own, Maks&Moorits kept a safe lead throughout the game. After eight consecutive points from the home team, the lead reached 13 points only to be cut to 11 with a buzzer-beating shot by Ivar Tulit.

TLU Kalev were not ready to give up just yet and managed to close in into single-digits – the teams were separated by eight points at halftime – 50-42.

After the break, the margin shrank even more, as the visitors got two baskets and reduced the gap to only four. However, that is as close as they came – Maks&Moorits steadily improved their lead back to double-digits and at the end of the quarter were once again up by 11.

The home didn’t let up in the final quarter and safely coasted to the finish line to end up atop with a 86-75 lead.

Reinis Strupovics was the leading scorer for Valga with 27 points, while Jurijs Aleksejevs added 19 points and 14 rebounds. Kristo Saage chipped in with 17 points.

Thomas Droney had an impressive outing for TLU Kalev, which, however, wasn’t sufficient for the victory. The American amassed 30 points and 10 rebounds and led the game in scoring. Reimo Tamm had troubles at the free-throw line but still managed to collect 14 points. Robertas Grabauskas finished the game with 12 points to his name.