VALGA – Points were hard to come by in Valga on Friday evening, as the hosts Maks&Moorits slumped to a 68-36 defeat to the visiting Pieno Zvaigzdes in a Group C encounter.
It was the first game of the new Baltic Basketball League (BBL) season for the Estonians, while Pieno Zvaigzdes improved to a 2-0 record.
The beginning of the game did not seem to promise anything bad for the Valga side, as they trailed 6-4 after the first five minutes of play.
However, unlike the home side, the visitors from Lithuania did manage to pick up the pace and got some point the board, breaking away to a 28-14 lead at the half.
The story in the second part of the game remained the same – after scoring 7 points each in the first two quarters, Maks&Moorits combined for 22 in the third and fourth periods.
On the other side, Pieno Zvaigzdes kept swiftly increasing their lead, before a 27-point outburst in the final quarter, finishing the game with a 32-point victory margin.
Ingus Bankevics and Darrick Leonard finished the game with 11 points each, while Paulius Sorokas added 10 points for the Lithuanian team.
No players reached double digits for Valga, with Sasha Avalic leading the way with nine points, as Latvian big man Raitis Grafs added six.
VALMIERA – Norrkoping Dolphins marked their return to the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) with an 82-58 victory against Group A rivals Valmiera on the road in Latvia.
The Swedish team started the game strong, breaking away to an early 14-3 lead, behind an early scoring outburst by William Walker, who scored nine points in the first three minutes of the opening period.
Although Valmiera had got as close as 19-20, Dolphins went on another run and finished the quarter ahead 27-19, maintaining a double-digit lead in the second period.
The second half followed a similar pattern as the Norrkoping team’s advantage grew to 66-48 with a strong third quarter, which the visitors won 24-15.
William Walker finished the game with 18 points for Dolphins, while Jan Tomanec and Joakim Kjellbom chipped in with 13 points each, with the latter also adding seven rebounds.
Janis Kaufmanis and Raimonds Gabrans had 10 points apiece for Valmiera, while the only other in double digits was Maris Ziedins with 10 points.
LIEPAJA – Barsy opened their victory tally in the 2013-14 Baltic Basketball League (BBL) campaign after winning the Group B duel against Liepaja/Triobet 87-71 on the road in Latvia on Thursday.
Although the beginning of the game wasn’t very promising for the visitors from Kazakhstan, with the Liepaja team up 16-9 midway through the first period, Barsy used a strong second quarter to finish the half with a 45-40 lead.
Donte Hill and Reinis Strupovics made a three-pointer each in the beginning of the third period, as Barsy went on to win a 12-0 stretch and jump ahead 57-40 in the middle of the quarter, cruising to take an easy victory in the fourth.
Strupovics had a game-high 20 points, Edgaras Zelionis added 17 points, while Dmitry Gavrilov collected 14 points and five rebounds for Barsy.
For the losing side, Ingus Jakovics finished the game with 16 points, Artis Ate had 11, as Lauris Blaus scored 10.
PRIENAI – TonyBet Prienai hit the first century mark of the season as they demolished Caspiy Aktau in a Group C, taking a 100-43 victory at home on Thursday evening.
It was the first Baltic Basketball League (BBL) game for the Prienai side this season, while the Kazakh side has already suffered three defeats to Lithuanian teams in as many games.
The teams got into a shoot-out in the beginning of the game, combining for 13 points already in the first 90 seconds of the game, with the home side up 7-6.
Although only a single point separated the sides at this point, it didn’t take long for TonyBet Prienai to start pulling away and finish the first quarter with a 31-22 lead.
Having scored 22 points in the first period, Caspiy went on to collected only 21 in the remaining three quarters, while the team from Prienai had no problems scoring whatsoever and cruised to an easy win.
Antanas Udras had a game-high 16 points for the hosts, while Gintaras Kadziulis and Vaidas Cepukaitis chipped in with 10 points apiece.
For Caspiy, the only player in double digits was Vadym Matyukevych, who finished the game with 10 points, while David Nesbitt contributed with 9.
RIGA – Having finished second in the Vikonda BBL Cup, TU/Rock continued the successful start of the 2013-14 season by taking a 64-58 victory against Barons on the road in Riga.
Rock started the game extremely well, taking an early 17-6 lead in the first quarter and holding on to a double-digit lead in the first half, finishing the second period with a 37-27 edge.
However, Barons began the second half with a 12-5 run to make it a one-possession game at 39-42, but it was as close as the Latvian team managed to get throughout the rest of the game.
Neither side shot the ball well, with Barons making only 34% of field goal attempts and 50% of free throws, while Rock converted 38% of field goals and 52% of free throws.
Janar Talts, Timo Eichfuss, Vincent Simpson and Uros Lukovic – finished the game with 10 points each for Rock, with Eichfuss and Talts adding 10 and 9 rebounds respectively.
For Barons, Agnis Cavars had 18 points and 7 rebounds, while Karlis Apsitis chipped in with 16 points and 6 boards, while no other player scored more than eight points.
TALLINN – Despite wasting an 18-point lead, Tallinna Kalev survived the fourth quarter comeback by Tyco Rapla and outlasted the visitors 88-86 in overtime to start the new Baltic Basketball League (BBL) season with a win.
Behind a 9-2 run to start the game, Tallinna Kalev took control of the game, taking a double-digit lead at 17-7 midway through the quarter before extending the advantage to 29-15 by the end of the period.
The story didn’t change much in the second quarter as the home side maintained a solid 48-35 advantage at the end of the half.
Having trailed by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, Rapla came back storming with a 9-0 run to start the final period to cut it down to a 60-63 deficit.
Tallinna Kalev maintained a slight edge for the time being, but it wasn’t long before Oliver Metsalu gave Rapla the lead at 73-71 with a successful lay-up.
Four points in a row by Martin Dorbek had given the visitors a 77-74 lead, but Reimo Tamm’s game-tying three-pointer brought the teams level with 38 seconds left and forced an overtime.
Rapla started the extra period slightly better, establishing a four point lead. However, the hosts proved to be more clutch in the end.
With the score at 86-82 and 56 seconds left to play, Roland Prii hit a three-pointer and Renato Lindmets scored a lay-up, while Mario Paiste sealed the win with a free-throw.
Kaido Saks led the winners with a game-high 20 points and registering five blocked shots, while Reimo Tamm added 17 points for Tallinna Kalev.
Rapla’s forward Martin Dorbek was the leading scorer for the losing side with 17 points and 10 rebounds, as Andre Parn collected 15 points and 7 boards.
VENTSPILS – There was not much intrigue in first Group B game of the season, as Ventspils inscribed its first win after taking a 71-47 win against the visiting Barsy Atyrau on Tuesday to start the defense of the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) trophy successfully.
The home side came out strong out of the gates, taking an early 9-3 lead, before extending the advantage to double digits after a lay-up by Ronalds Zakis to make it 17-6.
Although the Kazakh side had cut the deficit to 22-19 with a basket from Dmitry Gavrilov in the beginning of the second quarter, but Ventspils answered with a 10-1 run and broke away once again.
With a 45-28 lead at the half, Ventspils did not have any problems of cruising to an easy victory in the third and fourth quarters.
Ronalds Zakis was the top scorer for the Latvians with 11 points, while Akselis Vairogs and Sandis Valters chipped in with 10 points each.
No Barsy players scored in double digits, with Reinis Strupovics leading the team with 9 points, with Edgaras Zelionis collecting 8 points and 8 rebounds.
RAKVERE – In a thrilling game, Tarvas defeated the visiting Jekabpils team 74-73 to begin the new Baltic Basketball League (BBL) campaign on a positive note at home on Tuesday evening.
Almost nothing separated the sides in the first half, with the home side leading 47-46 after two quarters.
However, Jekabpils shot ahead in the third quarter, winning the period 18-11 to take a six-point lead before the deciding part of the game.
Tarvas bounced back and squeezed out a season-opening victory in the last minutes of the game, edging the Latvian opponents by a single point, despite finishing the night with a 36.5% field goal percentage.
Giedrius Gustas, who had seven assists, and Rait Keerles, who collected six rebounds, scored 17 points each for the winners, while Laurynas Mikalauskas added 13.
Troy Barnies was the top scorer for Jekabpils with 16 points and also added 7 rebounds, while Rinalds Sirsnins chipped in with 14 points.
PARNU – Siauliai began the new Baltic Basketball League (BBL) season by thrashing Group B rivals Parnu 87-56 on the road in Estonia on Tuesday evening.
Parnu had a 12-10 advantage in the first quarter, but the visitors from Lithuania finished the period with an 11-3 run to take a 21-15 lead.
The second quarter proved to be decisive in the game, as Siauliai won the second ten minute stretch by 16 points and heading into halftime up 45-27.
Nothing changed in the second half, with Siauliai continuing to make long-range shots and Parnu struggling to score.
Siauliai finished the night, making 13-of-26 three-point attempts and shared the ball extremely well, making 22 assists.
Eigirdas Zukauskas had 16 points for Siauliai, Darius Pakamanis collected 14, while Arunas Sajavicius added 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Janis Vahter was the top scorer for the losing side with 16 points and 8 rebounds, as Rannar Raap added 13 points.
PASVALYS – Pieno Zvaigzdes started their 2013-14 Baltic Basketball League (BBL) campaign with an easy 77-53 victory against Caspiy Aktau, who now dropped to 0-2 in Group C.
The visitors from Kazakhstan had lost to Juventus two days ago and will continue their Lithuanian trip in Prienai on Thursday, where they will be hoping to get the first win.
Pieno Zvaigzdes answered most questions with a strong start, which allowed them to get a double-digit lead already before the end of the first quarter, as the scoreboard showed 16-6.
However, it wasn’t the end of troubles for Caspiy, as the Kazakh side conceded another 10-0 run on top of that to fall behind 26-6, before Kris Richard ended the scoring drought with a jumper.
The home side was up 39-20 at the half, with every single player scoring at least once, while the biggest problem for the Aktau team was taking care of the ball, as they committed 14 turnovers.
The story of the game didn’t change in the second half, as Pieno Zvaigzdes continued to dominate and confirmed their serious contentions for the season with a big opening win.
Egidijus Dimsa led the Lithuanians with a spectacular double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, Rolandas Alijevas collected 15 points, while Zygimantas Jonusas chipped in with 10.
For Caspiy, Kris Richard had a team-high 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Vadym Matukevych was the only other player in double digits, having scored 10.