Bucks’ Marine earns all-state mention

LEROY — A fabulous high school career has ended for Pine River’s Austin Marine.

The Pine River senior earned all-Highland Conference honors this season and was also on the Associated Press’ Class C honorable mention all-state listing.

Marine is now focusing on a college career with Saginaw Valley State University in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

For the season, Marine had 19 points and 10 rebounds per game, plus three blocks, three steals and two assists per outing.

“He had a great season,” said Pine River coach Scott Benson. “I talked with Bruce Koopman (McBain boys basketball coach) this past weekend and was giving him grief for running a box and chase on us. But he said he was concerned about Austin and that he improved greatly. And McBain was in the state finals.”

The Ramblers, Highland Conference champs, finished as state runners-up in Class C.

“We’ve had a lot of people say they thought he (Marine) was the best player in the conference and maybe in the area,” Benson said. “It speaks for itself. He had a great year. He worked incredibly hard. He’s a great kid. I’m real happy for him.”

In a 51-34 regular-season victory over Farwell, Marine displayed his true colors. He scored 30 points with nine field goals, one 3-pointer and seven free throws and added nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

“We ran into a pretty good team,” said Farwell coach Erik Schunk. “(Marine’s) going to be playing (college basketball) at Saginaw Valley. We ran everything at him from full press to double team and everything else. I guess that happens every once in awhile. You run into a legitimate player.

“He had 17 in the first half and we made some adjustments,” Schunk said. “He’s a good ballplayer.”

“Austin just dominated, they couldn’t stop him,” Benson said. “I played 10 or 11 guys the first half so there was not a lot of continuity. We went up by 24 and I put my last guys in there. They cut it down to 13.”

Lincoln Erickson, a sophomore, earned honorable mention honors. He averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds a game.

“Lincoln will just get better,” Benson said. “Next year, things will open up a bit. We have a kid (coming up) who is about 6-5 and a good inside player. If Lincoln can hit that 12-, or 13-foot jump shot, that might be able to spring him a bit. He has to get to be a little better dribbler, a little stronger with the ball.’’

“It will be nice next year having those guys come back,” said Benson, who loses Marine, but also several talented underclassmen, including Erickson, returning.

Pine River ended the season at 10-11. “We didn’t get blown out by anyone, Every one was a good game,” Benson said of his league season. “We couldn’t win the close ones.”