Pyrinto win by 19 in Rakvere


RAKVERE ‒ Pyrinto will carry over a 19 point advantage into the second leg of the Eight-Final tie against Tarvas, after beating the Rakvere side 99-80 on Estonian Independence Day.

The visitors from Finland broke away to  a 24-13 advantage already in the first quarter, but Tarvas battled back and got within two points after an 11-2 run was capped off by Kristo Saage to make it 26-24.

Led by Benjamin Raymond, who had 13 points in the first half, Pyrinto finished the second period with a 50-41 advantage.

Tarvas’ deficit reached 17 points in the third quarter, but the Estonians battled back and got within a 11 points (80-91) with 45 seconds left.

However, the situation got much worse in terms of the second-leg perspectives for Tarvas, as Pyrinto went on to score eight points in the remaining time, increasing the gap to a game-high 19 points at the final buzzer.

Benjamin Raymond paced the Finns with 20 points, Antero Lehto scored 17 points and had six assists while Kelvin Lewis added 14 points and nine rebounds.

For Tarvas, Rait Keerles double-doubled with 21 points and 12 rebounds, Kristo Saage scored 17 points, while Silver Leppik collected 14 points and seven assists.

Juventus surprise Tonybet in Utena


UTENA ‒ Last season’s Baltic Basketball League (BBL) runners-up Tonybet Prienai were handed a 70-67 upset by Juventus Utena, who won the first leg of the Eight-Final tie.

Prienai had won the two head-to-head meetings between the sides in the regular season, but will have a three-point deficit coming into the second leg.

Nikita Barinov started the game red-hot, scoring eight quick points to give Juventus a 15-5 lead already six minutes into the game. However, the double-digit gap didn’t last long, as Tonybet cut the deficit to three points (17-14) at the end of the opening period.

Juventus carried over the three-point edge into the second half (37-34), but an 8-0 run at the start of the third quarter by Prienai allowed the guests to take their first lead of the game at 42-37.

Having led by as many as nine points, Tonybet seemed to have grabbed the control of the game, but the hosts finished the period strong and got within 48-50.

With minutes remaining in the game, the visitors had a 60-55 lead, but eight points in a row by Jeremy Hazell flipped the script completely, as Juventus shot ahead into a 64-60 advantage after Nikita Barinov added a free-throw.

Hazell led all scorers with 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, Barinov cooled off in the second half and finished the game with 11 points, while Averon Matthews chipped in with 10 points and six boards.

For Tonybet, Mindaugas Lukauskis had a team-high 14 points, Laimonas Kisielius scored 13 points and snatched six rebounds, with Arturas Valeika adding 12 points.


Confident playoff start for Siauliai


SIAULIAI ‒ The postseason battles of the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) begun in Siauliai, where the hosts registered a 107-79 victory against the visiting Barsy side in the first leg of the match-up.

The second leg will also take place in Siauliai but overcoming a 28-point deficit will be an uphill struggle for the Kazakh team.

After a promising start, Barsy finished the first quarter with an 18-16 advantage, with Harrison knocking down a three-pointer as the opening period concluded.

The guests led had increased the gap to six points (22-16), but a 17-3 run saw Siauliai turn the game around completely to take a 33-25 lead halfway through the second quarter.

Having finished the first half with a 39-37 edge, the hosts turned up the intensity in the third and fourth quarters, scoring 68 second-half points and running away with an easy victory.

Rokas Giedraitis, Julius Jucikas and Travis Leslie all finished with 21 points apiece for the winners, with Leslie also adding 10 rebounds and six assists.

For Barsy, Lithuanian swingman Gytis Sirutavicius collected a team-high 17 points, Bryan Harrison scored 14, while Fredrick Zambalist chipped in with 11 points.

BBL hands out individual awards


The Baltic Basketball League (BBL) regular season wrapped up last weekend, with Valmiera’s guard Janis Kaufmanis headlining the individual award winners as the league’s leading scorer.

The 24-year-old Latvian player averaged a league-high 20.6 points leading Valmiera to fourth place finish in Group A and a spot in the BBL Eight-Finals, where the club will face Nevezis Kedainiai.

Norrkoping Dolphins big man Joakim Kjellbom became the league’s best rebounder, with impressive averages of 14.6 points and 9.6 boards per game. Dolphins advanced to the playoffs as the second seed from Group A and are set to meet Barons in the first round.

Zygimantas Janavicius from Tonybet Prienai rounded out the field by snatching up the league’s best assistman award, as the 25-year-old playmaker averaged 5.4 dimes per game.  The Lithuanian team finished second in Group C and will face group rivals Juventus in the playoffs.

BBL Weekly Review: Volume 11


With the last game of the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) regular season already in the books, the league presents you the 11th edition of the BBL Weekly Review, which provides you theopportunity to quickly overlook all the week’s main events and spectacular performances.

Regular season concludes, playoff pairs clear


The Baltic Basketball League (BBL) regular season concluded on Sunday evening, as all 16 playoff teams became clear after the weekend’s action. In accordance with the BBL regulations, the first five teams from each of the three groups and the best sixth-placed team advanced to the postseason.

Tarvas became the last club to seal a playoff spot, finishing fifth in Group A, after Tyco Rapla lost out on a ticket to the next round after being defeated by Norrkoping Dolphins in the last game of the first stage.

Pyrinto, Dolphins, Jekabpils, Valmiera and Tarvas were the five teams to qualify to the playoffs from Group A. Ventspils, Siauliai, Nevezis, Barsy, Lietkabelis were the five top teams in Group B, while Pieno Zvaigzdes, Tonybet, TU/Rock, Barons kvartals and Juventus advanced from Group C.

Liepaja/Triobet became the best sixth-placed team, having finished with a 4-8 record in Group B, while Tyco Rapla and Caspiy, who were sixth in Group A and Group C respectively.

The playoff schedule will be finalized and announced on Monday, February 17th.

The full list of qualified teams: Pyrinto, Dolphins, Jekabpils, Valmiera, Tarvas, Ventspils, Siauliai, Nevezis, Barsy, Lietkabelis, Pieno Zvaigzdes, Tonybet, TU/Rock, Barons kvartals, Juventus, Liepaja/Triobet.

Following the BBL regulations, the BBL Eight-Final pairings were made based on the BBL team ranking after the regular season, with the highest ranked team paired with lowest ranked team from those to have qualified for the playoffs:

In accordance with the Baltic Basketball League Regulations, season 2013/2014 all 21 teams are ranked after the BBL Regular season as follows:

Tyco Rapla lose to Dolphins, miss playoffs


NORRKOPING ‒ The Baltic Basketball League (BBL) regular season came to a close in Sweden, as Norrkoping Dolphins denied Tyco Rapla a place in the postseason, defeating the Estonian visitors 84-52 on Sunday evening.

A victory would have allowed Rapla to catch the playoff train, squeeze past Rakvere Tarvas (4-8) into the fifth spot in Group A due to a better head-to-head score. 

However, the Estonians didn’t manage to pull off an upset and finished the regular season in sixth place with a 3-9 record, while the Dolphins, 9-3, were second.

Rapla had given their supporters hope after going on a 14-2 run in the first half to turn a 13-9 deficit into an eight-point advantage at the beginning of the second quarter.

However, the good news ended here for the guests, as the Dolphins responded with 17 unanswered points to take a 32-23 lead, with William Walker scoring 11 points in this stretch.

Having finished the first half with a double-digit, the hosts continued what they had started and ran away to a 57-38 advantage after three quarters, before finishing the game with a thunderous final period.

Walker paced the winners with 17 points and nine rebounds, Jan Tomanec collected 14 points and six boards, while Niklas Rydgren added 12 points.

Martin Paasoja was the only Tyco Rapla played in double figures with 12 points, Martin Dorbek scored eight points, while Ziga Fifolt chipped in with seven points and nine rebounds.


Ventspils smash Siauliai, win Group B


VENTSPILS ‒ Ventspils secured the first placed in Group B with a 98-56 victory against fellow group leaders Siauliai on Saturday.

The teams entered the last game of the regular season tied for the first spot with an identical 9-2 record, but the Latvians came out on top.

Ventspils broke away right from the get-go, starting the game with an 8-0 stretch and going on to establish a 26-15 lead after the first quarter.

The nightmarish start for Siauliai continued in the second period, as Lorenzo Williams and Janis Timma guided the defending BBL champions into a 50-25 halftime advantage.

The second half was merely formality, but Ventspils kept pulling away and led by as many as 46 points in an unexpected blowout.

Lorenzo Williams had a team-high 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Janis Timma scored 18 points and dished out six dimes, while Maris Gulbis added 17 points.

For Siauliai, Vytas Sulskis collected 21 points and eight rebounds, Darius Pakamanis scored 12 points, with no other players in double figures.


Lietkabelis punch playoff ticket in Liepaja


LIEPAJA ‒ Lietkabelis crowned a successful playoff push by taking a 68-58 win against Liepaja/Triobet to book a spot in the postseason.

The Lithuanian team won three of the last four regular season games, climbing to fifth place in Group B with a 4-8 mark.

However, Liepaja/Triobet is the main favorite to advance as the best sixth-placed team, barring any unforeseen events in Group A.

Lietkabelis had built a small lead in the first half of the game, but it was a close affair until the very final minutes, as Liepaja came back to take a 47-46 lead before the fourth quarter.

With the score 48-47 in favor of Lietkabelis, Kristaps Miglinieks drained a three-pointer and Paul Hill added a pair of free throws to give Liepaja/Triobet a 52-48 advantage.

However, Lietkabelis weren’t ready to give up a playoff spot this easily – the Lithuanian team retook the lead at 66-54 after Goran Vrbanc completed an 18-2 run with a three-pointer.

Vrbanc led Lietkabelis in scoring with 18 points, Ivan Nelyubov scored 16 points, while Darrick Leonard added 12 points and five rebounds.

For Liepaja/Triobet, Paul Hill collected team-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Kristaps Miglinieks chipped in with 12 points.


Valmiera keep Tarvas waiting


VALMIERA ‒ Tarvas didn’t seize the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot on the road in Latvia, as they were handed a 75-66 loss by Valmiera on Saturday.

The fate of the Rakvere side will be decided in the last regular season game between Norrkoping Dolphins and Tyco Rapla.

In order to progress to the BBL Eight-Finals, Tarvas will need their Estonian compatriots to lose in Sweden. Otherwise, it will be Rapla going through.

Tarvas failed to contain the league’s leading scorer Janis Kaufmanis, who scored 21 points in the first half alone, guiding Valmiera to a 40-32 lead at the intermission.

Although Rakvere had got as close as six points in the third period, the hosts put some separation between the sides, entering the final period with a 57-47 advantage.

After five points in a row by Rait Keerles, Tarvas had cut the gap to 63-60, but Valmiera replied with a 7-0 run of their own to put the game out of reach.

Janis Kaufmanis finished the game with 34 points, Kaspars Cipruss added a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds, with Kristaps Dargais chipping in with 11 points and eight boards.

For Tarvas, Rait Keerles scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Gregory Jenkins collected 14 points in a loss.