Morley Stanwood boys race past Pine River

LEROY — Pine River’s boys basketball team opens its Highland Conference season on Wednesday with Beal City.

On Dec. 6, Both teams had to shake off the opening night rust on Tuesday but Morley Stanwood got the job done against Pine River in a non-conference boys basketball game for a 62-53 win.

Both teams had players who were in football playoffs through November, including Pine River, which was in the state semifinals on Nov. 19.

Shooting percentages were low in the first quarter, which ended with a 9-8 Mohawk lead. Morley Stanwood took it effectively to the basket in the second quarter led by Zach Pritchard with six points for a 26-18 halftime lead.

Nic Huntey’s layup gave the Mohawks a 36-27 lead late in the third. Pine River cut it 38-34 after three quarters.

Zach VanderPloeg scored on a breakaway layup for a 45-36 Mohawk lead at 6:21 of the fourth. Pine River was whistled for a technical on accidentally having too many players on the court and Huntey’s free throw made it a 10-point game. Jason Ambler was having a hot hand and scored at 3:52 for a 52-41 lead. Huntey’s 3-pointer at 3:13 made it 55-41. The Bucks continued to struggle offensively.

“It wasn’t our best performance, but give Pine River credit,” Morley Stanwood coach Bob Raven said. “They played tough defense. I’d like to take better care of the ball better. There were too many turnovers tonight. We made some plays when we had to and it’s a sign of a team with potential.”

Huntey led the Mohawks with 14 points, followed by Ambler with 11 and Pritchard with 10.

“There’s the first game jitters and it took us awhile to get going,” Raven said. “This is a tough place to play. (Pine River coach) Brian (Goodenow) does a good job with them.”

Mason Powell had 22 points for the Bucks while Tristen Nelson added 11 and Hunter Estline put in 10.

“We looked a little rusty,” Powell, who was Pine River’s football quarterback, said. “We knew we would be with just a week’s practice. We just got done with football awhile ago. I didn’t know I shot the ball that well. We have a lot of things to work on.”