Justin set for productive senior season

LEROY — Pine River’s girls basketball team is off to a 3-0 start and Kierra Justin is obviously playing a key role in that success.

Justin continues to be a productive player in the post, using her size advantage to grab rebounds and connect on her favorite shot: the putback.

While she’s been effective in her role in past seasons for the Bucks, Justin can see where she’s been progressing.

“I feel like I have better hands,” she said.

Justin usually leave outside shooting to teammates such as cousin Julie Justin, plus Logan Powell, KayLee Goodman and others. But she’s confident of hitting the jumper whenever she needs to take it. But she acknowledged she wants to improve on the jumpers.

Defensively, in victories over Morley Stanwood, Reed City and Evart, the Bucks defense has been solid.

“It’s been pretty good,” Justin said after the win against Reed City. “We’re moving our feet really well.”

The Bucks return everyone from last season’s team, which was 19-4 and won the Highland Conference.

“We can be a lot better in any area,” she said.

Justin noted her team played during the summer and enters every game confident they can do well.

Justin expects to see attention from other teams in upcoming games but indicated the key to offset that is to get stronger and work together effectively with her teammates.

The Bucks are scheduled to play at Manton on Friday in Highland Conference action and will host Gladwin on Dec. 20.