Lake City boys edge Pine River

Pine River's Lane Ruppert led his team in scoring against Lake City with 18 points. (Herald Review file photo)

Pine River's Lane Ruppert led his team in scoring against Lake City with 18 points. (Herald Review file photo)

LEROY -- Highland Conference action returned for the Pine River boys' basketball team was taken down 61-54 by the visiting Lake City Trojans on Thursday evening.

With Pine River's defeat, the Bucks' will take a 5-6 (3-5) record with them going forward. In the Highland Conference, PR currently occupies seventh place.

After both teams scored on each of their first four possessions of the game, PR's boys kept up the offensive momentum to go up 18-10 after one quarter.

Intensity and offensive production increased Lake City during the second quarter, but Pine River continued to find ways to score in what proved to be a back-and-forth race to halftime.

In the second quarter, the Trojans made more of an effort to penetrate Pine River's defense. The result was more contact given by PR and more free-throw attempts for the visitors.

The Bucks trailed by one point (30-29) after the first two quarters.

Half two ushered in a much quicker rate of play and as a result, the Bucks and Trojans committed a handful of turnovers.

As time in the third quarter ticked away, it was apparent that Lake City was the only side to consistently create points off turnovers and use its transition offense

After leading or trailing by fewer than five points for a vast majority of the contest, Pine River found itself trailing by more than 10 points with three minutes on the third-quarter clock.

Lake City's strategy of quick passing along with its up-tempo attack kept the Buck defenders chasing the game as their deficit remained in double-digit totals until the final moments of the third quarter.

With three-fourths of the game completed, Pine River was behind 52-43.

With 3:31 on the clock, the Bucks trailed their conference opponents by just six points as the Trojans did their best to draw contact and keep the clock running by playing keep-away.

Both teams were in the bonus at the two-minute mark and the Bucks trailed by only three points, but this was as close as the home team would get for the rest of the night.

Top scorers for Pine River were: Lane Ruppert (18), Jayce Methner (16), Marcus Jurick (8), Hunter Kanouse (6) and Sasha Huffman (4).

The Bucks' next game will come away from LeRoy on Feb. 5 against the Evart Wildcats.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Pine River defeated Evart 70-56 at home on Dec. 19.