Despite loss, Ventspils wins BBL trophy


Off the strength of a 69:91 road win over Rudipis Prienai in the first game of the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) championships series, Ventspils was able to capture the title even though they lost the second game, 70:73 at home in Latvia.

The guests were forced to sit two key starters for the series, Gediminas Orelik and Paulius Ivanauskas, due to a high fever.

After the first quarter Rudipis Prienai led by two, 17:19.

The guests opened scoring in the second with a triple by Arturas Milaknis, who stole the inbounds and got a lay-up, getting fouled in the process. Dropping in the extra point pushed the lead to seven, 17:25. Ventspils countered with a 9:2 run that pull the hosts to within one, 26:27. A. Berzins knotted the score at 29 with five minutes to play in the half, but Prienai was able to pull away again with six straight to lead 29:35. Ventspils got 10 in the final two minutes, including a layup at the horn, to send the clubs into the break with the hosts up one, 39:38.

After M. Meirs dropped in a layup for Ventspils, Prienai showed the sense of urgency a team down 22 points overall should be showing. Over the next four minutes they ran off 16 unanswered to hold a lead, 43:54 to only be down 11 overall at that point. Unfortunately, they then let Ventspils run off nine straight, to cut the lead to four, 52:56. Prienai took a six point advantage into the final 10, 54:60.

Needing 17 points to win the title meant that Prienai needed to start racking up some points, but it took them over a minute to get their first two and nearly two minutes before they hit a three-pointer. Ventspils was content running the clock out as they enjoyed a substantial lead, but Prienai never got things moving in the fourth quarter and while the ended up winning the contest, Ventspils was crowned the Baltic Basketball League champions for the 2012-13 season.

Prienai got 15 each from Gintaras Kadziulis and Siim-Sander Vene and A. Milaknis added 14 to the win.

Janis Timma paced Ventspils to the championship with 15 points. Akselis Vairogs and Arturs Berzins added 10 points each.


Ventspils’ Janis Timma accepts his BBL MVP award.

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