LEROY — Kierra Justin finished a strong junior season for Pine River’s girls basketball team.

The Bucks lost 54-50 in the Class C district finals at McBain and had their season end much sooner than they had hoped.

But there was still a Highland Conference championship to enjoy.

One of Justin’s top games late in the season was a 15-point effort over Marion.

“Hustling down the floor, getting back and rebounding was our main goal, plus fast breaks,” she said. When it came to winning big games, Justin cited those factors as being critical for the Bucks.

Late in the year, the Bucks were playing “better than we have been,” Justin said.

Pine River was 0-2 to start the season and ended 17-4.

“It’s been teamwork, definitely, plus rebounding and defense,” Justin said.

Her role was to help the Bucks dominate inside, but Justin felt late in the season that she was fulfilling her role. Taking outside shots and improving on post moves were among Justin’s main priorities. She observed that tough teams were focusing on zones and half-court presses to stop the Bucks.

“We have to get our eyes up the floor, get open and have fast breaks,” she said.