Nevezis too strong for Barsy


KEDAINIAI – After winning the Vikonda BBL Cup, Nevezis continued the impressive start of the season with an 87-62 victory against Barsy in Group B action on Saturday.

It was the opening game of Baltic Basketball League (BBL) season for the Lithuanians, while Barsy dropped to a 1-2 record following the loss.

The visitors from Kazakhstan started the game strong and ran away to a 21-11 lead in the beginning of the game, but Nevezis finished the first period with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to two points.

A similar run at the end of the second quarter gave the hosts a 38-32 lead at the half, after Arvydas Siksnius nailed a jumper with the clock ticking down the last seconds.

Having started the second half with a 9-0 spurt, Nevezis took over the initiative of the game and controlled it until the very end of the game, taking an easy victory.

Vilmantas Dilys had 19 points and nine rebounds for the winners, Gintaras Leonavicius added 18 points and seven boards, while Arvydas Siksnius finished the game with 13 points.

For Barsy, Mikhail Yevstigneev collected a team-high 16 points, while Reinis Strupovics was the only other player in double digits with 11 points.

Jekabpils hold on against Dolphins


JEKABPILS – After a one-point loss in the first game, Jekabpils made sure not to let another victory slip out of their hands, as they held on 78-73 against Norrkoping Dolphins in a Group A game on Friday evening.

The visitors from Sweden got off to a storming start, going on an 11-0 run right out of the gates, with Dolphins forward William Walker responsible for seven of those points.

However, Jekabpils weren’t behind by much for long, as they answered with an 8-0 spurt of their own, before tying it all at 13-13 by the end of the first period.

Having built a 35-30 lead at the half, the home side kept playing with confidence in the third quarter and increased the gap to a game-high 16 points.

Although Jekabpils was up 57-43 before the start of the final period, Dolphins were not ready to give up just yet and raced back to make it a one-possession game with three minutes left on the clock.

With the visitors from Norrkoping down 73-75 and 45 seconds remaining, Jekabpils committed a turnover, but Kendrick Brown’s three-pointer was blocked, while Pierre Hampton could not convert on a second chance opportunity.

Rinalds Sirsnins went on to make three-of-four shots from the free-throw line to seal the victory, preventing Jekabpils from another slip-up.

Michal Hlebowicki had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds for the winners, while Sirsnins finished the game with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Dolphins guard Kendrick Brown had a game-high 19 points, while Joakim Kjellbom, who also had 11 boards, and Edgars Jeromanovs scored 14 points each.

Pieno Zvaigzdes lock down Valga


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.

Dolphins return to BBL in style


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.

Barsy start slow, finish strong


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.

TonyBet Prienai hit century against Caspiy


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.

Rock start the season with a win


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.

Tallinna Kalev survive in overtime


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 begin title defense successfully


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.

Tarvas survive thriller against Jekabpils


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.