BBL Weekly Review: Volume 5


After a week with only two games played, the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) follows up with an action packed one. 18 games were played throughout the two week period and the BBL presents a conjunct review of all the main events and spectacular performances that took place.

Liepaja/Triobet defeat Barsy for first win


LIEPAJA ‒ Ingus Jakovics made a free-throw with seven seconds left in the game to give Liepaja/Triobet the first win of the season, as the Latvian side registered a 77-76 victory against Barsy.

The team from Liepaja had lost five games in a row before earning their first win, while the loss puts the visitors from Kazakhstan at 3-4.

Barsy led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but a third-quarter comeback allowed Liepaja/Triobet to catch up and even take a 56-55 lead before the final period.

With three and a half minutes left in the game, Lauris Blaus had put the hosts up 70-63, but Barsy managed to make it a one-possession game after two free-throws by Edgaras Zelionis.

With 13 seconds left on the clock, Mikhail Yevstingneev tied things up at 76-76 with a jump shot, but Ingus Jakovics prevented an overtime by making one-of-two from the stripe on the other end after Donte Hill fouled him.

Ingus Jakovics had a team-high 18 points for Liepaja/Triobet, Renars Magone scored 17, as Lauris Blaus collected 16 points for the winners.

Barsy were led by Lithuanian big man Edgaras Zelionis, who had 20 points  and eight rebounds in a losing effort, while his countryman Gytis Sirutavicius scored 18 points and grabbed six boards.


Pyrinto blow out Tyco Rapla


TAMPERE ‒ Pyrinto ran away to a 19-point already after the first quarter in an easy 112-59 victory at home against Tyco Rapla on Sunday evening.

The Group A leaders from Finland improved to an 8-1 mark, while the visitors from Estonia are on the opposite end of the standings with a 1-6 record.

Pyrinto shocked the guests by starting the game with a 14-0 run, with Antero Lehto and Benjamin Raymond scoring six points each in the span.

After a setting off the fireworks early and finishing the opening quarter with a 27-8 lead, the Tampere club went on to take the three remaining quarters as well, as they cruised on to take the win.

Antero Lehto finished the game with a game-high 21 points for Pyrinto, Topias Palmi collected 16 points, while Benjamin Raymond and Yannick Anzuluni chipped in with 13 points apiece.

Tyco Rapla’s top scorer Martin Dorbek had a team-high 13 points, Dusan Sisic had 11 points, as Rait-Riivo Laane added 10.


Barons make it five in a row


RIGA – Having started the season with three losses in a row, Barons have gone on a five-game winning streak, with the latest 88-69 victory coming against Caspiy on Saturday.

The team from Riga jumped to third place in Group C with a 5-3 record, with the visitors from Kazakhstan dropping to a 2-6 mark.

After an early 11-0 run, Barons jumped ahead 17-9 already in the opening quarter, establishing a 21-12 lead after the first ten minutes of play.

The gap between the sides grew to double digits by the halftime break, as the margin separating the teams reached 47-32 after two quarters.

With solid second-half performances from the team’s leaders, Barons cruised to the fifth consecutive win, as Harijs Rubenis and Davis Zonne collected 15 points each. Karlis Apisitis added 14 points.

For Caspiy, Zhanysh Erns Uulu and Kris Richard shared a game-high 17 points, with Vadim Chsherbak chipping in with nine points.


Jekabpils torch Tarvas in second half


JEKABPILS – A strong second-half performance brought Jekabpils an 88-60 victory against the visiting Tarvas at home in Latvia on Friday evening.

The Latvian side returned to winning ways after losing the two previous games and is now 3-3, while the Rakvere club dropped to 2-4.

The visitors started the game strong and took an early 12-6 lead after Maris Laksa went one-of-two from the free-throw stripe, but an 11-0 run put Jekabpils in front.

Tarvas got back in front on the second period and led for the majority of the time up to the halftime break, but the hosts held close and tied the game up at 40-40 after two quarters.

The game changed drastically in the second half, with Jekabpils finishing the third period with an 8-0 spurt, which put the home side up by double digits.

During the fourth quarter, the gap between the sides only grew and the Latvian hosts celebrated a convincing 28-point victory after a 31-point scoring outburst in the final period.

The American duo of Cameron Runders and Troy Barnies had 19 points apiece for the winners, with the latter also adding 11 rebounds. Janis Poznaks added 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Tarvas was led by Lithuanian point guard Giedrius Gustas, who was the only player in double digits for the visitors with 11 points, with Rait Keerles adding nine.

Nevezis win big against Parnu


PARNU – Gintaras Leonavicius paced the undermanned Nevezis with 28 points, as the Lithuanian side improved to a 6-1 record, taking a 99-66 victory against Parnu on the road in Estonia on Friday evening.

It was the fourth loss in a row for Parnu, who are sixth at 1-4, while Kedainiai is tied with Ventspils for the top spot in Group B.

There was little intrigue from the very start of the game, as Nevezis powered past the Estonian hosts with a strong 28-19 opening quarter.

The gap between the teams soon reached double digits and settled down at the 14-point mark at the half as Darius Silinskis hit a jumper to make it 46-32 just before the halftime buzzer.

Despite having only eight players on the roster for this game, the visitors from Lithuania demonstrated some solid basketball in the second half as well and grabbed the easy victory on the road.

Nevezis was on fire from long-range, making 15-of-31 three-point attempts, while Parnu shot 4-of-16 from beyond the arc.

Gintaras Leonavicius finished the game with a season-high 28 points, Rolandas Jakstas scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Arvydas Siksnius added 18 points.

Rannar Raap led the home side in scoring with 14 points, but committed seven turnovers, Zivojin Grubovic scored 11 points and Vladzimir Krysevich chipped in with 10.

Timma leads Ventspils past Barsy


VENTSPILS – The defending BBL champions Ventspils extended their winning streak to four games with a 96-66 victory against Barsy at home on Friday.

The Latvian team improved to a 6-1 record in Group B, with the visitors from Kazakhstan dropping to 3-3.

It did not take long for Ventspils to establish a sizable advantage, as the hosts were already up 12-3 four minutes into the first quarter.

Having finished the period with a 12-0 run, the club from the Latvian seaside ran away to a 16-point advantage after the first ten minutes of play.

Barsy had managed to stop the bleeding in the second quarter with a rather even second quarter, but the scoreboard still showed 45-30 in favor of the hosts at the halftime break.

Led by Janis Timma, who was presented with the BBL November MVP award before the game, Ventspils won the third quarter 27-17 and increased the gap to 25 points before the final period to decide the outcome of the game.

Timma finished the game with a team-high 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists, Akselis Vairogs also collected 14 points, while Ronalds Zakis chipped in with 12 points and seven boards.

Lithuanian swingman Gytis Sirutavicius had 15 points for the visitors from Kazakhstan, as Dmitry Gavrilov collected 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Barons kvartals come home with a win


VALGA – Maks&Moorits suffered the seventh consecutive loss in the BBL, losing 73-66 to the visiting Barons kvartals in Group C on Thursday.

The Latvians improved to a 4-3 record in the group, while the Valga club has lost all seven matches so far.

After a close opening quarter, Barons changed the course of the game in the second period, turning a two-point deficit into a 38-31 lead at halftime.

Over the course of the third quarter, the visitors extended the lead to double digits and two three-pointers at the end of the period by Agnis Cavars and Andris Epners allowed the guests to pull away 58-41.

Although Maks&Moorits won the final ten minutes of play 25-15, it was too late to fight for the first win.

Jekabs Rozitis led the winners with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Harijs Rubenis and Davis Zonne chipped in with 10 points apiece.

For Maks&Moorits, Edi Sinanovic had a game-high 21 point, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists, while Jurijs Aleksejevs chipped in with 16 points.

TonyBet add another win


PRIENAI – TonyBet improved to a 6-2 record following a 91-60 victory at home against the visiting Caspiy team from Kazakhstan on Tuesday evening in Group C action.

The Lithuanian side had won the first meeting by 57 points, so a 31-point loss this time round marks a significant improvement for Caspiy.

Halfway through the first quarter, the guests had jumped ahead to a 14-11 advantage, but it was the last time the visitors held the lead, as TonyBet responded with a 15-1 run to end the period up by double digits.

The gap quickly reached the 20-point mark, despite the fact that the Prienai side had a terrible shooting night from beyond the arc, making only two long-range attempts.

However, the Lithuanian team compensated the lack of touch from the three-point line with solid play inside, making 74% of two-point attempts, led by Arturas Valeika, who shot a perfect 11-of-11 from the field.

Valeika finished the game with a game-high 23 points, while Vaidas Cepukaitis and Mindaugas Lukauskis collected 16 points each, with the latter also adding seven assists.

Kris Richard led Caspiy with 14 points, Vadym Matyukevych scored 11 points, with Sergey Kazantsev chipping in with 10 points for the losing side. 

Pieno Zvaigzdes survive thriller in Utena


UTENA – Juventus came close to handing Pieno Zvaigzdes the first loss of the season, but the visitors from Pasvalys held on to take a 66-64 win against their Group C rivals.

It was the seventh consecutive win for Pieno Zvaigzdes, while the team from Utena dropped to a 2-4 record.

It was a close game right from the start and -- throughout the entire 40 minutes – neither team led by more than nine points.

Although Pieno Zvaigzdes was in front for the majority of the time, Juventus showed their teeth late in the game, clawing back from a 62-55 deficit for a nail-biting finish.

The hosts were within a single point with a minute left in the game, but Aidas Viskontas could not take advantage of a couple decent opportunities.

With 18 seconds remaining, Juventus sent Aliaksandr Kudrautsau to the free-throw line and the Belarussian guard converted only one-of-two from the stripe, giving Juventus hope.

Nikita Barinov’s post-up resulted in a foul, but the athletic forward could not seize the opportunity to tie the game, missing his second foul shot.

Juventus had no other option but to foul Evaldas Kairys, who grabbed the rebound. Fortunately for the home side, the big man also missed one shot, but the half-court heave by the hosts fell short.

Egidijus Dimsa had a game-high 12 points for Pieno Zvaigzdes, while the newcomer from Belarus Aliaksandr Kudrautsau added 10 points, with no other players reaching double digits.

For Juventus, Saulius Kulvietis and Aidas Viskontas scored 11 points apiece, while Gintautas Matulis collected 10 points.