LEROY — Pine River gained some winning momentum going into the final two weeks of the regular season with a 56-38 nonleague girls basketball win over Manistee Monday night.

Jamie Justin led the Pine River attack with 21 points. No’el Solis scored 16 for Manistee.

Leading 28-13 at halftime, Pine River went up 32-17 on a Kassy Nelson layup at 5:50 of the third. Michelle Kelsey’s putback at 2:40 gave the Bucks a 36-19 lead. Brooke Janowiak hit a pair of free throws for Manistee moments later. Justin’s 3-point play put the Bucks up 39-21. Solis’ 3-pointer late in the quarter kept the Chippewas within reach, 41-28, going into the fourth.

Erica Buchner’s putback gave Pine River a 45-30 lead with 5:45 to play. At 4:38, Justin’s 3-point play put Pine River up 50-33. Chelsea Nelson followed with two straight hoops for a 54-33 Bucks advantage.

The Manistee offense got off to a slow start while the Bucks were able to gain early leads. Devyn Powell hit two field goals early and Justin added a triple. Both Justin and Kassy Nelson hit three free throws after being fouled on 3-point shot attempts.

It was 15-6 after the first quarter. Nelson hit a pair of triples and Justin sank one in the second quarter for a 28-15 halftime lead for Pine River. Solis netted five points for the Chippewas to keep Manistee in the game.

“It was hard to get into the flow,” said Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert. “There were so many fouls called. It seemed like every other minute there was a foul called. That’s how they scored their points. More than half their points were from the line.”

Manistee had only eight buckets from the floor and was 21-of-32 in free throws while Pine River had 22 baskets and was 8-of-14 in free throws.

“We turned it over more than we usually do,” said Ruppert. “I think we were a little bit sloppy. Manistee did a good job on us. They mixed things up.”

Haley Raymond had five rebounds while Justin added five assists and Powell had three steals.

The Bucks used early full-court pressure to fire out to huge early leads in a 61-22 girls basketball Highland Conference win over Marion on Feb. 7

Cayman Gatt’s putback gave Pine River a 9-3 lead early in the game. Justin’s 3-pointer late in the opening quarter made it a 20-3 Pine River lead.

Both teams were bothered by sloppiness in the second quarter. Haley Raymond’s 3-pointer gave the Bucks a 31-7 lead late in the second quarter. It was 33-10 at halftime.

Kassy Nelson’s baseliner with 2:30 to play in the third gave the Bucks a 48-14 lead. Justin scored off her own steal for a 54-16 lead.

“We got sloppy at the end,” Ruppert said. “I didn’t like that. You try to work on things. Offensively, we didn’t do very well on the things we wanted to work on. We didn’t score any point for about four minutes of the third quarter.

Justin scored 14 points and Kassy Nelson netted 13 for the Bucks. Justin had six rebounds, four steals and six assists.

Last Friday, Justin scored 21 points and Nelson added 11in a 61-22 win over Lake City.


Pine River’s boys basketball team will be at home Feb. 17 with Lake City. The Bucks are 9-5.