LEROY -- Pine River’s girls basketball team returns to action Friday night at McBain Northern Michigan Christian and players like junior Devyn Powell are ready to resume their bid for a Highland Conference title.

The Bucks haven’t played since they defeated Brethren 66-22 on Dec. 17. Powell had 11 points for a Bucks team that is 5-1 and has won five straight after opening the season with a loss to Reed City.

“We started slow. Then we picked it up and we did well,” Powell said.

The biggest win by far for the Bucks was on the road against McBain.

“We played very tough defense,” Powell said.

During the Christmas break, the Bucks have been busy with intense practices.

“We’ve been working a lot on our presses,” Powell said. “There’s always going to be something to work on. But overall, I think we’re happy with it. We’ll keep working hard to get ourselves better.”

Powell has been focusing on defense and passing.

“I’ve shot a lot better over time,” he said. “But my defense has been my key point.”

Defensively, Powell has been focusing on forcing her player to go to their weak spot.

“We have a lot of speed,” Powell said. “We’re fast, we can push the ball down the floor before their defense has a chance to set up.”

Looking ahead, Powell expects McBain to be tough in the rematch and indicated Manton could also be a dangerous team.

OTHERS

Reed City returns to action Tuesday night at home against Lakeview. Evart plays this Thursday at Manton and is home next Tuesday against Marion.