Snare & Associates wins Division 3

When Snare & Associates lost its early regular-season game against Thrivent Financial in the Mansion Park Men’s Summer Basketball League, the players on the Snare & Associates team took it as a learning experience.

On Wednesday night, in the Mansion Park League’s Division 3 championship game on the Pleasant Valley Elementary School court, Snare & Associates proved that it is a quick study.

Using a man-to-man defense in the second half, second-seeded Snare & Associates broke open what had been a 20-20 tie at halftime and went on to capture the division title with a 53-35 victory.

Snare, which got double-figure scoring efforts from four players, used a 7-point run at the outset of the second half as a springboard to the victory. The run broke a 24-24 tie and gave Snare the lead for good, 31-24.

Snare expanded the lead to as many as 19 points, 51-32 in the final minutes behind double-figuring scoring from Shane Reffner, who had a game-high 14 points, Jack Triplin, who added 11, and Dave Hancuff and Joe Dziabo, who had 10 points apiece.

“We moved the ball well and played pretty good defense,” said Triplin, who was a force inside the paint for Snare & Associates. “We had good balance in the second half. This is a wonderful team that works very well together.”

After Reffner hit a baseline shot to put Snare & Associates up 26-24, Hancuff connected on his second 3-pointer of the night, from the right side, to give Snare a 29-24 lead. Dziabo’s inside bucket made it 31-24, and greased the wheels to victory for Snare.

“We knew that we would have to keep getting after them defensively,” Reffner said. “We decided to go to a man-to-man defense in the second half, and we tried to get some transition buckets and get the lead.”

After Nathan Soellner’s free throw pulled Thrivent to within 31-25, Triplin followed with a pair of close-range field goals to give Snare its first double-digit lead of the night, 35-25.

A free throw by Nate Gearhart pulled Thrivent to within 35-26, but Snare went on a 12-4 run to build the lead to 17 points, 47-30 late in the second half.

Hancuff scored a bucket off the break, Reffner hit a pair of field goals, Triplin scored a field goal, and Dziabo and Josh Burke netted two free throws apiece to comprise the run.

“We didn’t hit many shots,” Thrivent’s Nate Gearhart said of his team’s play in the second half. “They were able to get free throws and layups in the second half.”

Nathaniel Taneyhill led Thrivent with nine points.

Reffner was happy with his team’s scoring balance, and happy that Snare was able to take home the title.

“We’ve been playing together for a couple of years, and we like to share the ball,” Reffner said. “There’s nobody on this team who is selfish. That’s why it’s fun to play with these guys.

“I’m happy that we got the win,” Reffner said. “We won it with our defensive effort. Holding them to under 40 points was a pretty stout performance.”

Game notes: League director Skip Dry pointed out that fans attending tonight’s Division 1 and Divison 2 championship games will be permitted to bring lawn chairs and sit on Court 1, opposite the scaffolding and team benches … The championship games were pushed back two days after rain forced cancellation Monday and Tuesday.

SNARE & ASSOCIATES MORTGAGE SERVICES (53): Reffner 5 4-7 14, Hancuff 4 0-0 10, Burke 0 2-2 2, Dziabo 3 4-6 10, Triplin 5 1-2 11, Guenot 2 0-0 4, Gehret 1 0-0 2. Totals — 20 11-17 53.

THRIVENT FINANCIAL (35): Lafferty 0 2-2 2, Politza 1 1-2 3, Gearhart 2 1-4 5, Taneyhill 3 3-4 9, Preston Mitchell 1 0-0 2, Fortson 2 0-0 4, Soellner 1 1-2 4, Brooks 1 0-0 2, Parker Mitchell 2 0-2 4. Totals — 13 8-16 35.

Halftime: Snare & Associates 20, Thrivent Financial 20.

3-pointers: Snare & Associates 2 (Hancuff 2); Thrivent Financial 1 (Soellner).

Officlals: Rob Warren, Ken Plisinski, Woo Betar.