Horace Mann Insurance, 2021-22 Champions of The Mountain Valley Rec Basketball League; L-R, Dalton Webster, Marshall Evens, Logan Curtis, Andrew Darling, Jonah Sautter, Jake Bessey (behind), DJ Douglas and Tyrese Joseph. Missing players Gauvin Hebert and Chris Bessey, Jack True and Sponsor Troy True of Horace Mann . Submitted photo

REGION — Horace Mann Insurance came from fourth place and a losing regular season record (4-8, 6-8 overall) to upset first place Smart Care PT in semifinals and then third place Archies, Inc (11-4), 81-79, in the finals of The Mountain Valley Rec Basketball League.

After losing some of their original roster and having a difficult time getting enough players each week, they were able to recruit a few replacements who made the difference in their season. Archies had upset second place Hotel Rumford in their semifinal game and became the odds-on favorites in the championship.

In a close, back and forth, tough and well-played game, the winners fought back in the end to regain the lead with some very stingy defense. The game was 45-43 in favor of Horace Mann at half time and the lead was never more than six points for either team.

Down by three with a little over a minute, a key steal was instrumental in changing the momentum. Archies rebounded a missed foul shot with one second left and called time out, but an attempted 3 pointer came up short to the dismay of a deflated Archies, who has had a championship allude them several times.

Marshall Evans, a Tasmanian transplant, who played recently for Central Maine Technical College was the top scorer for the champs with 36 points (7 threes), DJ Douglas has 25 (8 threes) and Jonah Sautter had 11 (3 threes). Archies was paced by Nate Carson with 22 points, Kindle Bonsall 20 and Owen Jones and Eric Berry with 15 each.

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