MCBAIN — A big defensive effort lifted the Pine River girls basketball team to a 46-31 victory over McBain.

The Bucks are now 11-1 on the season and 8-0 in the Highland Conference.

“Our defense was really good,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said.

“They didn’t get off any wide-open shots. We played gritty, hard-nosed defense.”

Pine River was led by Jamie Justin with 17 points and nine rebounds. Kassy Nelson tallied 15 points and five boards and Cayman Gatt finished with six points and two blocked shots.

“They knew they weren’t going to run with us so they slowed the game down,” Ruppert said. “I was happy with a different style.

“It was 5-5 after the first quarter. We opened it up a little more in the second, a little more in the third and a little more in the fourth.”

Ruppert said his team was content to play a slow down type of game.

The overall key was to “be patient and don’t force it,” Ruppert added.

The Bucks were snowed out Monday when they were to host Mason County Central. They play home Thursday against McBain Northern Michigan Christian.

NMC has been at the 8-4 mark.

“They’re not too bad, they’re getting better,” said Ruppert. “We started out a little slow against them the last time.”

Pioneer Prep Editor Bob Allan contributed to this report.