Dolphins cruise past Tarvas


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 win against Tyco Rapla


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.

Jekabpils ease past Tallinna Kalev in Estonia


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.

Barsy edge Lietkabelis on the road


PANEVEZYS – Barsy took an important 73-66 road victory against Lietkabelis in Group B action on Friday.

The win allowed the Kazakh side to improve to a 2-2 record, while it was already the third defeat for Lietkabelis in as many games.

Lietkabelis started the game slightly better and had a 17-12 edge after the first quarter, extending the lead to 38-32 at end of the half.

However, the story change in the third quarter, as Barsy went on a 20-6 run to take a 52-44 lead, as the period was approaching the end.

The hosts managed to get within a single point after Gediminas Zalalis went one-of-two from the free-throw line to make it 57-58, with six minutes remaining.

Lietkabelis point guard Anthony Bennett was a lone soldier on the court for the Panevezys team, scoring the last nine points for his side, but it wasn’t enough, as the Kazakh team held on.

Barsy were led by the Lithuanian duo of Gytis Sirutavicius and Edgaras Zelionis, who collected 20 points each. Sirutavicius added 11 rebounds, while Zelionis chipped in with seven.

Anthony Bennett had 20 points and five assists for Lietkabelis, the talented 18-year-old big man Gediminas Zalalis scored 15 and added five boards.

Nevezis triumph in Panevezys


PANEVEZYS – Nevezis Kedainiai remained atop of Group B of the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) after thrashing Lietkabelis 100-71 in hostile territory on Tuesday evening.

The visitors improved to 2-0, while the Panevezys squad now holds a record of 0-2.

The guests ran off with the lead from the get-go, starting the game with a 10-2 run. Though Lietkabelis managed to cut the deficit to four, Nevezis then scored 12 consecutive points and were already up by 16.

The margin hovered just under 20 points for most of the second quarter and there was nothing the hosts could do to relieve their struggles.

The team from Kedainiai kept on enhancing their lead in the second half and made sure that the fourth quarter would be merely a formality. They held a game-high 34-point lead a minute into the last quarter and calmly played out the final minutes.

Tyrone Brazelton had an exceptional performance for Nevezis, scoring 25 points, dishing out 6 assists and also grabbing 5 rebounds.

Valdas Dabkus ended the game with 16 points, Gintaras Leonavicius scored 14, while Vilmantas Dilys and Arvydas Siksnius chipped in with 13 each.

Tomas Cerneckis led the home side with 13 points, while Chukwudinma Odiakosa added 12. Both Mantas Virbalas and Anthony Bennet ended the game with 11 points to their names.

BBL Weekly Review: Week I


The Baltic Basketball League (BBL) presents its weekly review that will provide fans with the opportunity to quickly overlook all the main events and spectacular performances that took place in the league.

The first edition of the review will get you up to speed with the events, preceding the official start of the 2013-14 BBL campaign as well.

TROPHY. Nevezis found their way to their first trophy of the season, coming up victorious in the Vikonda BBL Cup 2013.

EXPANDING. The geography of the BBL expanded to Sweden and Finland, as Norrkoping Dolphins returned to the league after a two-year absence, while Pyrinto Tampere became the first Finnish team to participate in the Baltic Basketball League. Their opening game was marked with a 75:54 victory over Tallinn Kalev.

DEFENSE. Valga Maks&Moorits achieved a new BBL record already in their first game of the season. However, it’s not a record they’d wish to be a part of. In their game against Pieno Zvaigzdes, the Estonian team only managed to grind out 36 points. This was also the lowest-scoring game of the season so far.

PLUS/MINUS. Although Antero Lehto showed nothing out of the ordinary individually, rounding 12 points in the 26 minutes he played, he had the biggest +/- rating this week, as his team outscored Tallinn Kalev by 30 points with him on the court.  Ultimately, Pyrinto ended up winning by 21.

DOWNTOWN CAMPER. Pyrinto’s Kelvin Lewis launched 13 long range bombs and converted on 7, scoring all his 21 points from long range.

CENTURY. Tonybet Prienai became the first team to reach triple digits in scoring after trampling over Caspiy 100:43.

Martin Dorbek of Tyco Rapla became this week’s MVP with an impressive performance against Tallinn Kalev. Not only did he lead the team in scoring with 17 points, but he was also the best in several other statistical categories.  The forward also contributed 10 rebounds and 6 steals, totaling an impressive 30 ranking points. However, despite the input by Dorbek, his team failed to overcome their Estonian foes.

The runner-up in this week’s Top 5 is Nevezis’ swingman Gintaras Leonavicius. The Lithuanian scored 18 points, tore down 7 rebounds and stole the ball 5 times in their easy victory against Barsy Atyrau. The forward tallied a total of 27 ranking points.

Janis Vahter snagged the third spot this week, having been the only bright spot in a otherwise black week for Parnu. The Estonian team took a beating against Siauliai, losing by 31 points, but Vahter stood out with a solid performance both offensively and defensively. The forward contributed 16 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals, which led him to 23 ranking points.

Rait Keerles, this week’s top scorer, ended up in the fourth position when it comes down to overall efficiency. He averaged 23 points, 5 rebounds and 22.5 ranking points, while Tarvas squeezed out a single victory out of their two games.

Vilmantas Dilys finishes up the list with 19 points and 9 rebounds. He amassed 22 ranking points in Nevezis’ win against their Kazakh opponents.

Pyrinto debut with a win


TAMPERE – In the first ever Baltic Basketball League (BBL) game in Finland, Pyrinto sliced through the visiting Tallinn Kalev and marked its debut in the league with a 75-54 victory on Sunday.

The team from Tampere was the last to begin the regular season, but the season-opener proved successful for the hosts, while the Estonians dropped to a 1-1 record following the defeat.

After an early tussle for the lead, Pyrinto jumped ahead by double digits already in the middle of the first period. The lead soon reached 15 points, when Topias Palmi nailed a jumper to make it 24-9 in the beginning of the second quarter.

Although Tallinn Kalev had managed cut the deficit to single digits before the half, the Finnish team restored it just in time for the break, leading 32-22 after 20 minutes of play.

Illimar Pilk was doing his best to keep the visitors in the game, but a couple of three-pointers by Kelvin Lewis gave Pyrinto a comfortable 14-point lead, which Tallinn Kalev could not overcome.

Lewis led the  winners with a game-high 21 points, after collecting all of his points from beyond the arc, as he made 7-of-13 three-pointers.

Topias Palmi had 16 points, while Antero Lehto finished with 12 points. Pyrinto’s big man Annti Nikkila scored only two points, but finished with 16 rebounds.

For the Estonians, Illimar Pilk had 14 points, while Kaido Saks and Reimo Tamm chipped in with 13 points each, adding eight and seven rebounds respectively.

Siauliai cruise past Liepaja/Triobet


LIEPAJA – Siauliai bagged their second Baltic Basketball League (BBL) victory and remain unbeaten after having defeated Liepaja/Triobet 87-67 in the Group B battle on Sunday evening. 

Although the Latvian team jumped ahead by seven points early on, Siauliai managed to close in on them and only held a single-point deficit at the end of the first quarter.

In the second, however, the view on the court changed drastically. Led by Derek Needham, who dropped in 10 points just in the second quarter, the Lithuanian side went on a scoring rampage.

An 18-4 run to close half allowed Siauliai to heap a 44-28 lead before the break. 

The Lithuanians came out focused in the third and continued building up the lead. The margin between the two teams reached 23 points after Judson Dillard’s layup.

Despite allowing their opponents to finish the quarter off on a high note, Siauliai held an insurmountable 67-49 lead before the final quarter.

Any attempt for a comeback by the home team was set down immediately. The visitors from Lithuania finished the game in cold blood and took the deserving 87-67 victory.

Derek Needham was the top scorer for Siauliai with 28 points, converting on all five shots from downtown.

Vytas Sulskis and Julius Jucikas ended the game with 10 points apiece, while Ovidijus Galdikas and Jessy Perry contributed 9 each.

The Latvian side had four players in double digits - Arnolds Helmanis and Artis Ate finished off with 14 points. Ingus Jakovics and Kristaps Miglinieks both added 11.

Kaufmanis saves Valmiera in Rakvere


RAKVERE – A magnificent clutch performance by Janis Kaufmanis brought Valmiera the first victory of the new Baltic Basketball League (BBL) season, as the Latvian side squeezed out a 94-90 victory against Tarvas on Saturday night.

The 24-year-old Latvian guard Kaufmanis finished the game with 34 points, while Valmiera caught up with the Rakvere side in Group A standings, as both teams have a 1-1 record.

Leading 22-17 after the first quarter, Tarvas had a slight advantage for the majority of the first half, but Valmiera went on a late run in the second period to take a 41-40 edge at the half.

After a scoring outburst in the third quarter, Valmiera increased the advantage to 75-61, but the game was far from over, as it took Tarvas only four minutes to get back in front.

Spurred on by the home crowd, the home side went on a 22-3 run in the fourth quarter and gained a 83-78 lead halfway through the final period.

The drama did not end here – late-game heroics from Janis Kaufmanis, who scored 11 points for his team in the decisive rally to bring Valmiera in front 91-90 with a minute left in the game.

With 23 seconds left Giedrius Gustas missed a two-pointer, but Raimonds Gabrans made only one of two free-throws, giving Tarvas another chance.

However, Kriisto Saage and Juris Umbrasko couldn’t find the target and Gabrans, who finished the game with 13 points and five assists, sealed the win, making both foul shots this time.

Kristaps Dargais and Ivars Zvigurs added 12 points each for the winners.

Rait Keerles collected 29 points for Tarvas, Giedrius Gustas scored 15, while Kristo Saage added eight points and 12 boards.

TonyBet edge Juventus at home


PRIENAI – TonyBet Prienai remained undefeated in the 2013-14 Baltic Basketball League (BBL) season as they triumphed 73-68 against Juventus in the Lithuanian derby of Group C on Saturday.

It was the second win for the Prienai side, while the visitors from Utena dropped to a 1-1 record.

Although it was a pretty close game, TonyBet had the lead for the entirety of the game. After a 9-0 run in the second quarter, the hosts broke away to a 30-20 lead, but Juventus struck back and cut the deficit to 34-32 at the half.

The story in the second half was very similar – the home side would pull away by a couple of points, but Juventus would immediately claw back, but didn’t have the extra gear to change the outcome of the game.

Dainius Salenga scored 19 points for TonyBet, Gintaras Kadziulis added 18 points and six assists, while Laimonas Kisielius dropped 13 points on his previous team.

Juventus forward Edgaras Stanionis had 19 points and eight rebounds, while the only other player in double digits was the team’s captain Gintautas Matulis with 12 points.