TALLINN – After an outstanding second half, Tallinna Kalev registered their second win of the season, defeating Valmiera 78-56 in the Estonian capital on Friday evening.
In a tightly contested Group A, both teams have identical records after winning two and losing two games each.
Valmiera started the game slightly better and had a slight advantage after the first quarter, as they led 14-10. However, the Tallinn club did not allow the visitors to run away with the advantage.
The teams were tied at 28-28 at the half, but Tallinn Kalev started the third period with a 12-2 run and broke away into a double-digit lead.
Illimar Pilk started the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to increase the home side’s advantage to 57-40 and Valmiera never managed to bounce back.
Having gone 5-of-7 from three-point range, Pilk ended the night as the leading scorer with 22 points, while Reimo Tamm added 18 points and six rebounds.
For the losing side, Raimonds Gabrans collected 12 points, while Janis Kaufmanis was the only other player in double digits with 10.
KEDAINIAI – In the last game of the month, Nevezis registered a confident 92-75 victory against the visiting Liepaja/Triobet at home on Thursday evening in Group B action.
The win allowed the Lithuanian side to improve to a 3-0 record in the BBL, while the team from Liepaja lost for the third time in as many games.
Nevezis’ offense was working in full swing from the early going, as the hosts established an early double-digit lead after a three-pointer by Tyrone Brazelton to make it 21-11 six minutes into the game.
The gap only grew in the second quarter and Liepaja/Triobet found themselves with a 21-point deficit at the half, with the scoreboard showing 55-34 in favor of Nevezis.
Having maintained a solid lead throughout the third period, the home side relaxed in the fourth, allowing the visitors to go on a 12-0 run to cut it to 72-81 with three minutes remaining.
However, Nevezis managed to halt the brewing comeback, with solid play down the stretch and stayed among the five unbeaten teams in the competition.
Tyrone Brazelton had a game-high 22 points and five assists for the winners, Gintaras Leonavicius added 20 points, while Valdas Dabkus, added a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
For Liepaja/Triobet, Artis Ate had 18 points, Lauris Blaus scored 15 and added nine rebounds, while Roberts Krumins and Ingus Jakovics chipped in with 11 each.
UTENA – Juventus improved to a 2-1 record in Group C after taking an 83-79 victory against TU/Rock, who finished the back-to-back Lithuanian road trip with two losses and dropped to 1-3.
Three minutes into the high-scoring first quarter, only a single point separated the teams, but Juventus finished the quarter with an 8-2 run to jump ahead 23-16 after the first ten minutes of play.
However, the second quarter belonged to Rock, as the visitors from Estonia erased the seven-point deficit and tied things at 43-43 as the halftime buzzer sounded.
Rock began the second half with a 5-0 run, but Juventus responded and did not let the Estonians run away with the lead, going back in front 53-52.
Having started the final period with a 57-60 deficit, Rock recaptured the lead at 75-74 with three and a half minutes remaining after a Timo Eichfuss free-throw.
However, Juventus finished the game stronger, holding of the visitors with successful shots from the stripe after they started to foul intentionally.
For the winners, Edgaras Stanionis had 14 points and six rebounds, Averon Matthews added 13 points and nine rebounds, while Ernestas Ezerskis contributed with 12 points and six boards.
Rock’s leading scorer Vincent Simpson with 16 points and eight assists, while Tanel Kurbas and Janar Talts chipped in with 15 points apiece.
RIGA – Pieno Zvaigzdes registered an easy victory in the Latvian capital Riga, defeating Barons 92-74 in Group C action on Wednesday.
The Lithuanian team improved to a 4-0 mark after the victory, while Barons stayed winless, dropping to 0-3.
Dovydas Redikas, on loan from Lietuvos Rytas, had a good debut for the Pasvalys team, scoring 11 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out six assists.
Barons started the game with emphasis and took an early 8-2 lead after a basket by Davis Coders a couple of minutes into the game. However, it did not take long for Pieno Zvaigzdes to tie things up.
Having finished the first quarter with a 19-16 edge, the visitors did not take the foot of the pedal in the second period, establishing a double-digit lead and heading into the halftime break with a 45-33 advantage.
Pieno Zvaigzdes continued the dominant performance in the third quarter, scoring 30 points behind good play from the duo of Derick Caracter and Arturas Jomantas.
With the visitors from Pasvalys leading by 24 points before the final period, the last 10 minutes was merely a formality, as Pieno Zvaigzdes inscribed the fourth victory in a row.
Derrick Caracter had a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds for the winners, Egidijus Dimsa scored 15 points, while Arturas Jomantas added 14 points and eight boards.
For Barons, Agnis Cavars had 16 points and five rebounds, while Ilmars Bermanis added 15 points.
SIAULIAI – Siauliai continued the strong start of the season by handing the defending Baltic Basketball League (BBL) champions Ventspils the first loss of the season, defeating the Latvian side 84-68 at home on Tuesday.
The win allowed the Lithuanians to climb atop Group B, with a 3-0 record, while Ventspils dropped to third place, having won two matches and lost one.
After the first quarter, the visitors from the Latvian seaside had a slight 24-21 edge, which they increased to 32-23 at the start of the second period.
However, an and-one play by Siauliai’s captain Darius Pakamanis just seconds before halftime tied the game at 41-41 after two quarters.
Although Ventspils opened the scoring in the second half, Siauliai responded with a 14-3 run, which put them up by double digits at 56-46.
Having started the final ten minutes of play with a 64-53 advantage, the home team didn’t allow last year’s strongest team to make a run, keeping them at arm’s length until the final buzzer.
Darius Pakamanis and Vytautas Sulskis scored 17 points each for the winners, with Pakamanis also adding eight assists, while Christopher Cooper chipped in with a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The only player in double digits for Ventspils was Ronalds Zakis, who finished the game with 17 points, as Sandis Valters scored nine.
PRIENAI – TonyBet Prienai kept their unbeaten record alive in the Baltic Basketball League (BBL), defeating the visiting TU/Rock 86-74 at home on Tuesday evening.
It was the third victory in a row for last year’s BBL runners-up, while the Tartu club dropped to a 1-2 record in Group C.
TonyBet got off to a superb start, taking a 17-2 lead after an and-one play by Zygimantas Janavicius midway through the first quarter.
Although the Lithuanians were still up by double digits with five minutes remaining in the first half, Rock did not panic and finished the quarter strong, to cut the deficit to 41-42 at the half.
The visitors continued to ride the momentum in the third quarter and even led by as many as eight points after a basket by Vincent Simpson.
The game took a swing in a different direction again in the final period, as the experienced TonyBet team went on an early 8-0 to retake the reigns of the game with solid play.
With 90 seconds remaining, it was still a five-point game, but Gintaras Kadziulis hit a very difficult off-balance three-pointer to shoot down Rock’s hopes of a comeback.
Arturas Valeika had a game-high 22 points for the Prienai side, Gintaras Kadziulis scored 18 while Martynas Linkevicius finished the game with 11 points, 12 rebounds, five rebounds and three steals.
For Rock, Joosep Toome had 19 points, Janar Talts collected 16, while Gert Dorbek rounded out the double-digit club with 13 points and six assists.
PARNU – A pair of huge three-pointers by 19-year-old guard Brett Nomm gave Parnu the first win of the season, as the Estonian side shocked Lietkabelis with an impressive 79-78 comeback win.
With a couple of seconds to spare, Nomm hit the game-winning three-pointer to put the cherry on top of the decisive 16-5 run in the last four minutes of the game.
Lietkabelis seemed to be right on track for the win, as Anthony Bennett’s jumper had made it a double digit game at 73-63, but Parnu did not give up and fought back behind a terrific fourth quarter effort by Nemanja Miljkovic.
With 40 seconds left and Parnu down by five points, Brett Nomm hit his first three-pointer to cut the deficit to 74-76, with Rannar Raap making it a one-point game from the free-throw line.
Ryan Olander’s dunk with 16 second remaining put Lietkabelis back ahead by three points, but Janis Vahter cut the gap to two again, going one-of-two from the stripe.
After being fouled intentionally, Darius Griskenas missed both free-throws, leaving the door open for Parnu in the last possession. The 13 seconds left proved to be enough for hosts to triumph in front of the home fans.
Zivojin Grubovic had a game-high 21 points for Parnu, Rannar Raap collected 17, while the hero of the game, Brett Nomm, collected six points, with two crucial three-pointers.
Darius Griskenas missed a pair of very important free-throws, but still finished with 19 points for Lietkabelis, while Ryan Olander collected 14 points and six boards.
NORRKOPING – In the first home game of the season, Norrkoping Dolphins took an easy victory against Group A rivals Rakvere Tarvas, registering a 95-53 victory on Tuesday night.
Following the win, the Swedish team improved to a 2-1 record, while Tarvas lost the second game in a row after starting the season with a win.
Dolphins started the game on fire, taking a 32-17 lead already after the first quarter behind terrific play from Latvian guard Edgaras Jeromanovs, who had 13 points in the first quarter alone.
The gap between the teams grew even more during the second period, which the hosts winning the quarter 24-13 for a 26-point lead heading into the halftime break.
With the second half of the game merely a formality, Dolphins cruised home safely with an impressive 42-point victory.
Edgars Jeromanovs finished the game with 18 points on perfect 7-of-7 shooting from the field, William Walker also had 18, while Joakim Kjellbom finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
For Tarvas, Gregory Jenkins had 15 points and 10 rebounds, as Lithuanian point guard Giedrius Gustas added nine points.
VALMIERA – Valmiera improved to a 2-1 mark in Group A after taking a 70-64 victory against Tyco Rapla at home in Latvia on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, the Estonian side is the only winless team in the group, having lost both of their games so far.
After a low-scoring first half, Vamiera had a 29-22 edge against the visitors from the North and led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter after an early 8-0 run to make it 37-22.
Tyco Rapla raced back to cut the deficit to 48-52 by the end of the period and a basket by Ziga Fifolt made it a one-possession game after opening the scoring in the fourth quarter.
However, Valmiera restored a bigger advantage and had a relatively easy fourth quarter, sealing the win a lay-up by Kristaps Dargais.
Janis Kaufmanis was the top scorer of the game with 21 points and also added eight rebounds and four assists, while Raimonds Gabrans chipped in with 13 points.
For Tyco Rapla, Slovenian big man Ziga Fifolt had a team-high 17 points and seven rebounds, with Martin Paasoja chipping in with 12 points.
TALLINN – Jekabpils did not have to work very hard to take an 82-53 victory against Tallinna Kalev on the road in Estonia on Tuesday night.
The visitors from Latvia broke away after a difficult first quarter to improve to a 2-1 mark in Group A, while the Tallinn club dropped to 1-2.
Tallinna Kalev kept the game close in the first period, finishing the first 10 minutes of play with a 17-18 deficit. However, Jekabpils went on a spurt in the second quarter to go up 38-29 at the half.
The story did not change in the third quarter, as Jekabpils was clearly the stronger side and managed increased the gap to double digits before finishing the game with a massive 24-7 final period.
Troy Barnies had a team-high 15 points for Jekabpils, Cameron Runders scored 13 points, while Pavels Veselovs and Martins Kravcenko added 11 apiece for the winners.
The hosts were led by 16 points by Mario Paiste, but no other player finished the game in double digits.