EVART -- Highland Conference play continued on Wednesday evening for a pair of familiar adversaries as the Evart Wildcats defended their home court with a 56-47 win against the Pine River Bucks.

It was the second meeting this season between the Wildcats and Bucks this season, and Evart's victory secures a sweep in the season series.

Evart's record now stands at 6-6 (4-6).

Evart drew first blood by scoring the first eight points of the game and took a 15-8 lead into the second quarter. The Wildcats also drew plenty of contact early in the action and were quickly in the bonus after only 11 minutes of play.

In the bonus and carrying more than a 10-point lead, Evart displayed confidence while driving through the lane, penetrating the Buck defense and frequenting the free-throw line.

Slowly but surely, the Wildcats' advantage began to dwindle with a number of missed shots and empty possessions and the Bucks took full advantage of this on the opposite end of the court.

Pine River battled to cut the Evart lead back down to single digits and grabbed momentum with mere seconds on the clock for the first half and trailed by just three points (27-24) at the half.

PR's first attempt of the second half brought the Bucks to within a single point and its defense held Evart scoreless for nearly three minutes -- it was the closest the Pine River boys would get for the rest of the evening.

Despite Evart's attack slowing down considerably in the second half, Pine River wasn't able to grab the lead or tie the score with the increased offensive opportunities it was given.

The Wildcats led 36-32 after the third quarter's buzzer sounded and began the final quarter with two points on each of their first three possessions.

On defense, Evart made Pine River look out of synch for the first time all game and kept the Bucks scoreless for more than half of the final eight minutes of competition; this allowed Evart to go back up by 10 points once again.

In the final minutes of competition, the Bucks were forced to foul, effectively ending any chance they had at a late comeback.

Evart will hit the road for its second game this season against McBain NMC for 6 p.m. tipoff.

Evart defeated NMC 49-37 back on Jan. 10.

Evart was led in scoring by: Donavin Reagan (16), Cameron Brasington (15), Haidyn Simmer (15), Justin Buckner (8) and Tony Hartsock (2).

Pine River was led by Jayce Methner (13) and Lane Ruppert (10).