LEROY — Michelle Kelsey likes the progress her Pine River girls basketball team continues to make.

Kelsey, a senior starter, joined the varsity this season and has been playing a  key role for the Bucks. Last week, in a 53-28 victory over McBain Northern Michigan Christian, Kelsey had 10 points and five steals.

“We started off slow,” Kelsey said after that game. “We did way better in the second half. Running the floor was the key for us tonight.”

The previous high scoring in points for Kelsey has been 16 against Brethren.

“We’re doing much better than the beginning of the season,” she said. “We’re improving.”

The Bucks entered this season having come off a championship year in which they graduated many players. Kassy Nelson returns but many others had not seen extensive playing time. Kelsey entered the season knowing she would be playing a key role for her team.

“I’ve been playing a lot running the floor,” she said. “I usually guard one of their better players.”

Pine River’s only conference loss has been to arch-rival McBain, in a close game on the Bucks home floor. They’ll have a rematch later this season and Kelsey is hoping the results will be different.

“We have to control the tempo of the game,” Kelsey said. “When we settle down, that’s when we perform our best. It all starts with defense.”

The Bucks are at Beal City Thursday and at Evart next Tuesday.