LEROY — It’s a Pine River boys basketball team which has several key seniors, including Tristen Nelson this season

Last season, his first on varsity, Nelson had to take off some time to rest his knee and recover from the effects of a challenging football season.

A long football season, in which Nelson and the Bucks were in the state semifinals, put his team about “two weeks behind,” he said. 

Nelson acknowledged it was fourth for Pine River football players in the first one or two basketball games to make the transition.

But with a 55-51 win over McBain Northern Michigan Christian recently, the Bucks and Nelson seem to be at full strength. Having practices over the holiday break were helpful, he added.

“I’m out there to take care of the ball and make big shots,” Nelson said. “I’m calling plays.”

From last year, Nelson said he’s “improved a lot. My confidence is way better this year. I’m healthier now. That’s good.”

Defense and shooting are among his strengths.

“I know the game well,” Nelson said. 

This week, the Bucks were take on two Osceola County rivals. They are home Tuesday to face Reed City in non-league action. On Jan. 27, they are at Evart in Highland Conference play.

“We can go far,” Nelson said. “We’re pretty tall this year, We should be strong at rebounding.”