Nelson passes 1,000 career scoring mark

LEROY — Kassy Nelson had a chance to cross the 1,000-point career scoring mark Thursday night and the Pine River senior didn’t disappoint the Bucks fans who were hoping she would accomplish the feat.

Nelson needed 21 points entering the Highland Conference game with Beal City and hit 26 in her team’s 67-38 victory over the Aggies.

Paula (Peterson) Justin and her daughter Jamie Justin are among the other two known Pine River players that have passed 1,000 points.

Nelson dished out three assists in the first quarter before asserting her scoring talents.

“It’s not just an individual award,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said. “She had to get assists from somebody, She had to get rebounds from people. I’ve known some teams, a girl gets 1,000 points because she shoots every time down the floor. That’s not the case with Kassy. She’s always passing the ball.”

Nelson had eight points in the first quarter to spark her team to a 22-8 lead. Sophomore Julie Justin also had the hot hand in the first quarter with nine points, including a triple.

Beal City scored six unanswered points to open the second quarter before the Bucks got back in the groove. Kierra Justin had six straight points for Pine River to take control of the game. Nelson had five points in the second and the Bucks led at halftime 39-18.

Nelson hit two triples early in the third for a 47-17 lead. She then hit two free throws at 5:08 for a 49-20 lead. With those free throws, Nelson had her 1,000 points and Ruppert called a time out to allow the fans and Nelson’s family to congratulate her on the accomplishment.

It wasn’t until that moment that Nelson realized she had hit 1,000 points.

“I figured I was close, but I had no idea I was that close,” she smiled. “I was thinking ‘why are people cheering for a free throw? This is weird. it feels pretty rewarding.’”

Kierra Justin’s shot inside gave the Bucks a 53-22 lead with 2:55 to play in the third. It was 54-26 going into the fourth.

Nelson passed to Anna Lindquist for a layup and 56-26 lead early in the final quarter.

Pine River lost to Lakeview earlier this week.

“Kierra was a lot healthier,” Ruppert said. “That helped a lot. I could keep her in the game. She did a great job on their big player. Not having school on Monday, we were flat (against Lakeview).”

Also for the Bucks, Kierra Justin had 13 rebounds and 16 points, while Julie Justin contributed nine points, six assists and seven steals. Nelson had eight assists and eight steals. Cheyanna Rizor had six rebounds.

Pine River is 7-2 overall and 5-0 in the Highland.

“This was a conference game so we were up a little better for it,” Ruppert said. “I like the way we responded.”

Beal City, 3-7 overall, was led by Jordan Schneider with 10 points.

“I think Pine River played a tremendous game,” said Beal City coach Bob Henry. “(Nelson) is a heckuva ballplayer.”

The Bucks were home Tuesday against Evart. They will be at Manton Friday night and are home Tuesday against Boyne City.