Nelson continues steady season for Bucks


LEROY — Skyler Nelson didn’t have a chance to play in the only game the Pine River Bucks have lost so far this season.

But the senior Bucks basketball player hopes to help the team remains undefeated in the Highland Conference.

The Bucks’ undefeated league mark was in serious risk last week on Jan. 28 when Evart overcame an early 26-4 deficit and led at one stage of the second half against the Bucks before losing the game, keeping Pine River’s perfect league record in check.

“In the first quarter, a majority of the guys hit our shots and moved the ball well,” Nelson said, adding that “it shouldn’t be” when asked if it’s difficult to duplicate one huge quarter with another. “We knew we had to start playing basketball the right way. We pulled it together a little bit at the end, made a little bit of a run and saved the day.”

The Bucks were able to get out to an 11-1 record for many reasons, Nelson said, among the chief ones being balanced scoring.

“We usually have three guys in double digits. We move the ball well and we’re not a selfish team,” he said.

The Evart game should serve as a wakeup call of sorts, Nelson acknowledged.

The only loss came Jan. 20 at Mason County Central. Nelson was sick and didn’t play.

“Up until (the Evart game) I played really well,” he said. “You can’t think about it too long. You have one bad game, you go on to the next. You take it game by game. Every game is different. You have to take every game seriously.”

Coach Brian Goodenow of Pine River has been happy with the play he’s gotten out of Nelson.

“Skyler is perhaps the best pure shooter in the Highland, averaging 14.5 points per game and shooting over 41 percent from outside the arc,” Goodenow said. “He is also one of the leading 3-point shooters in the state, with 37 made through last week’s games. Skyler is averaging five rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

“He is one of our strongest, and smartest players and often matches up against the other team’s primary post player. Even though he frequently gives up a lot in height, he compensates with his physicality and his knowledge of the game.”