Baltic League: three reach semis

Baltic LeagueThree teams are through to the semi-final of the Baltic League with the fourth to be decided on March 10, before the competition moves to its Final Four.

So far, TU/Rock progressed with a win over Liepaja/Triobet, Lietkabelis completed its romp over Nevezis, and Valmiera qualified with victory over Pieno Zvaigzdes.

Liepaja/Triobet vs. TU/ROCK, 76-80
TU/Rock completed a Baltic League quarter-final cruise by seeing off Liepaja/Triobet on the road without needing to stretch too much. The guests were protecting a massive 93-66 lead from last week and simply stayed professional and classy at the right times to progress.

The leg was more or less a formality from the opening tip, but Liepaja/Triobet kept it competitive throughout, but the visitors still led 22-23 at the opening split. In the second frame the hosts hit back to carry a 44-42 lead into the long break. It remained close in the third stanza, but TU/Rock used a 12-19 run to move ahead for good, staying secure down the straight to claim the win.

Evaldas Zabas topped the win with 17 points, while Janar Talts added 14 points, Gert Dorbek 13 points, and Tanel Sokk 12 points. Talts went close to a double-double with 9 rebounds.

David Hicks was hot for the home team, grabbing 23 points in the losing effort. The American was followed by compatriot Kris Richard with 18 points and Toms Leimanis with 14 points.

Lietkabelis vs. Nevezis, 64-59
After losing 61-84 on home hardwood last week, Nevezis needed a Basketball miracle to progress from 23 points behind in leg 2. It was not to be of course, as Lietkabelis wrapped up the tie with a home win that sees them claim their berth in the Baltic League semi-final.

The visitors were struggling with injury, so credit should go to Nevezis for keeping this contest interesting, even if the tie was finished last week. The visitors were ahead 19-21 through the first frame, but only 8 points in the second stanza allowed Lietkabelis back into the game with a 34-29 lead. Nevezis made it very interesting with a 10-21 charge in the third act lead 44-50 through thirty minutes, but once again the hosts hit back to shut down the tie.

Jurica Zuza paced the winners with 17 points, with Mantas Kazonas grabbing 14 points.

Ernestas Ezerskis also scored 17 points for Nevezis, while Oleksandr Kolchenko added 12 points for the 8 man team.

Valmiera vs. P.Zvaigzdes, 80-78
Valmiera welcomed Pieno Zvaigzdes protecting a ten point lead after a 71-81 win on the road last week. However, while the hosts prevailed with another win, it was never comfortable enough for the celebrations to start early as Pieno pushed the tie the distance.

The momentum was arguably with Pieno Zvaigzdes heading into the game, the team rallied from 31 points down in the second half a week ago and started this game in the same form. The visitors led 39-43 through halftime and were on course to get back into the tie. However, Valmiera put together a 23-18 run in the third quarter to lead 62-59 at the last split. It was too much for Pieno to overcome as Valmiera edged the fourth to take the win.

Artura Berzins paced the victory with 17 points, followed Martins Laksa added 15 points and Kwamain Mitchell contributed 12 points.

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