Bucks have a split season start; lose one to RC, beat Mohawks

ON TOP OF COVERAGE: Jamie Justin (12) plays defense against Morley Stanwood. (Herald Review photo/Bob Allan)
ON TOP OF COVERAGE: Jamie Justin (12) plays defense against Morley Stanwood. (Herald Review photo/Bob Allan)

MORLEY — Pine River’s girls basketball team opened its season last week at 1-1, including a 57-25 win over defending Class C state champion Morley Stanwood on Thursday.

The Mohawks were able to make only four baskets in a 57-25 loss to Pine River at Morley Stanwood High School.

Morley Stanwood did not make a field goal the entire first quarter and was almost shut out in the first eight minutes of action. The Mohawks’ Brett Chesebro hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds remaining in the first quarter for the first points of the game for the hosts.

The first field goal of the contest for Morley Stanwood came on a bucket by Mekayla Carey two minutes into the second quarter. Pine River led at the time 19-6.

The defensive effort was nice to see according to Bucks coach Shawn Ruppert, who thought his team struggled against Reed City in his team’s opener.

“We talked Tuesday about how we had trouble rotating,” he said. “We worked hard on that (Wednesday in practice) and we were in better position and stayed in front of the ball better though I thought we bailed out their shooters a couple of times.”

Pine River had little trouble getting points during the game, though Ruppert still thought his team turned the ball over a little more than it should.

The Bucks were paced by Jamie Justin with 16 points, while Kassy Nelson added 11 and Devyn Powell 10 points. Cayman Gatt netted seven points.

“(Balanced scoring) is going to be huge,” Ruppert said. “Cayman and Erica Buchner played great and Devyn always hustles. We shouldn’t be one dimensional at all.”

The Bucks opened their season on Nov.  27 with a 60-42 loss to Reed City. The Bucks trailed 13-6 after the first quarter, 37-18 at halftime and 50-23 after the third quarter.

Ruppert said his team was careless with the basketball in the opener, giving credit to the Reed City defense for getting into passing lanes. The Coyotes also limited Jamie Justin to 11 points, scoring just two baskets on the evening, while most of her points came after the game was out of reach.

“We were sloppy with the ball and I thought they out-hustled us,” he said. “We got some good shots off, but they really took Jamie (Justin) out of the offense.”

Pine River has a big Highland Conference showdown next Tuesday with McBain.

Pioneer sports editor Martin Slagter contributed to this report.