Nelson hoping for banner senior season


LEROY — Skyler Nelson has been with the Pine River varsity boys basketball team since early in his freshman season and wants to leave as a senior with a championship feeling.

He was able to enjoy that feeling last season when the Bucks won the conference and district titles.

“As a freshman, I moved up with a bunch of guys I never really played with before,” Nelson said. “This year, I’ve been playing with these guys my whole life. As a freshman, I wasn’t nearly as confident.”

Last season, due to a broken collarbone he sustained during football season, Nelson wasn’t able to play basketball until early January, and was able to step in as a major contributor.

“We had a great season last year as a team,” he said. “I still had a few restrictions last year. It was hard getting into the swing with those guys since they had practiced for so long. I came in late. It was really hard to jump back in with them.”

His role is definitely different with the Bucks this season.

“I need to score more than I ever have, and can’t rely on other people to do that,” said Nelson, a shooting guard. “The first game didn’t go really great. The last two games, I’ve been shooting the ball really well. You have to play relaxed and confident.”

Nelson credited point guard Mitchell McDonald with being able to get the ball to the open player.

“We scored a lot off the transition and fast breaks,” Nelson said. “We’ve been pushing the ball really well and playing as a team. The last couple of games, we’ve been shooting the ball well.”

A win over Manton was probably the best game his team has played so far, Nelson indicated.

“They were probably the best team we played, we shot the ball well and pushed the ball well against them,” he said. “We played pretty good defense.”

Against tough teams, “we have to push the ball and have them play our speed of basketball and don’t let them get set up in their offense all the time and put a lot of pressure on the ball,” Nelson said.

Pine River graduated height from last season.

“Our help defense is good this year,” Nelson said. “I’ve been working on being a better defender.”

Nelson and his teammates wouldn’t mind a few more titles this season.

“That’d be awesome to end my high school career with a great season,” he said.