Last week in Valmiera, Latvia we had U12 (2012) boys participating.
15 teams participated in the first stage from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Ukraine!
Both Lithuanian teams that participated – Taurages BS and KM Perkunas ended up first stage undefeated. KM Perkunas last game on Sunday against Ridzene was most likely one of the best games in the stage with both teams giving 110% effort trying to win. Perkunas team won 50-49, getting revenge of losing the night before in free-throw contest final against Ridzene boys.
Final results for first stage:
1. KM Perkunas Basketball School – 5/0
2. Taurages BS – 5/0
3. Ridzene – 4/1
4. Gulbene – 4/1
5. A.Kraukla VEF – 4/1
6. KK Viimsi – 3/2
7. BC Kalev Cramo / KK Sokud – 3/2
8. Limbazi/Rujiena – 3/3
9. Rae SK / Kiili SK – 2/3
10. Altius – 2/3
11. Tartu – 1/4
12. Smart Basketball Academy – 1/4
13. Rakvere – 1/4
14. Ridzene 2 – 0/5
15. Bertanu Valmieras BS – 0/5
Smart Basketball Academy team from Ukraine, Odessa traveled more than 3000 km, 66 hours total till Valmiera and back by bus!!!
Their coach Andrei Jarcov summarizes the long trip and experience for the 2012/2013 born boys:
1. How did You and the children prepare mentally and physically for this stage, considering the long journey to get to Valmiera and back?
Initiative and the desire to show a good game were more important to them than fatigue after 37 hours of travel. During the road, we communicated a lot, were together and close, like a family, so this was a useful experience for them as individuals, as a team. The road to the other side turned out to be easier – 29 hours, and these positive emotions that the guys received during this stage, the realization that the guys were going home, had a positive impact on their mental state. If we talk about physical aspects, then light warm up and stretching during stops were a very important and necessary event.
2. Were there any challenges You faced while traveling to the tournament? How were You able to overcome them?
The main challenge was the border on which we stood for 7 hours. Arriving in Valmiera we were very warmly welcomed. The organizers took care of the high level of this stage.
3. What’s the most memorable moment/s from the stage for You as a coach and what’s it for the children?
For the boys, the highlight was the victory. Of course, because of the war, they missed 2 years of training and quality tournaments, the level of the other teams is much higher, but they showed character and this makes us proud. This stage became a celebration of basketball for them. For me personally, the most striking and impressive thing was the endless desire in these children’s hearts to give of themselves until the last whistle. I am very grateful to them for this and appreciate it.
4. Why BBBL?
Because everyone knows that in the Baltics people live by basketball. We could see the result of a systematic approach at the World Cup this year, and it would be wrong of me not to introduce the guys to basketball in this part of Europe. It was also my dream to return here, because 4 years ago I was here with another team (Belostenniy BS, 2003 boys) and I know that this tournament is worth those 37 hours of travel, and thousands of aspects of preparation, from collecting documents to the training process.
5. How was the team name “Smart Basketball Academy” created?
Management came up with this name. In our training system, an important aspect is the understanding of the guys and a smart approach to each exercise. Unfortunately, we cannot influence a player’s growth, we can partially influence his strength, but we can influence his understanding of the game to help compensate for all his shortcomings with understanding and the right decisions on the court. This is our vision.
On Saturday’s evening we had coach challenge and free-throw contest. Bruno Karlis from Ridzene had no stress for the very loud noises coming from all of the children, making 3 out of 3 shots – free throw and back to back 3 point shots, winning in overtime versus Taurage coach Raimondas Matutis. In free throw contest it was again Ridzene boys who won with not much difficulties. They won the final game against KM Perkunas 18-12. We also remind that these same Ridzene boys did it last season in Kaariku playing and winning the free throw contest versus one year older boys! They sure do know how to make free throws!
Pictures from the contests:
Top-10 highlights for this week stage You will find here:
Next stage for U12 boys is planned right before Christmas week – 15.12-17.12.2023 – Riga, Latvia
In U12 (2012) category 23 teams total have registered from 5 countries:
Latvia (10) – A.Kraukla VEF, Agenskalna sakumskola, Alley-Oop Basketball, BVBS, Ezerzeme-Rezekne, Gulbene, Limbazi/Rujiena, Ridzene, Ridzene-2, and Sigulda.
Estonia (8) – Altius, Keila BS, KK Viimsi, Rae SK/Kiili SK, BC Kalev Cramo/KK Sokud, Tartu, Parnu and Rakvere.
Lithuania (2) – KM Perkunas Basketball School, Taurages BS
Georgia (1) – BC Wings
Ukraine (1) – Smart Basketball Academy
Poland (1) – AK Komorow
It looks like we will have new champions this season for 2012 boys! Last season DSN team from Riga, Latvia took home the gold medals, KA Snaiperis from Kaunas, Lithuania got silver medals, Ridzene team from Riga, Latvia won bronze while BK Kekava from Kekava, Latvia were fourth. Only Ridzene team from last season’s Top-4 is back at this moment and they are definitely one of the favorites. Finals stage place is planned in beautiful Viimsi city, Estonia, 24-26 May, 2024.