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. 

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.