Pine River basketball team catching up during the preseason

LEROY — This marks the third week of preseason practice for the boys basketball season.

But at Pine River, it’s actually the first week.

Nine of the 12 players on coach Brian Goodenow’s roster were on the Pine River football team that advanced to the state semifinals on Nov. 19. Goodenow decided to give them most of last week off and start practices on Monday. That’s means only about a week of practice prior to the opener next Tuesday at home with Morley Stanwood.

The Bucks are also scheduled to have some scrimmages prior to the opener.

The Highland Conference season opens at home Dec. 14 with Beal City.

After a road game at Manton on Dec. 16, the Bucks are on holiday break until Jan. 3 when they visit Harrison.

Pine River hope to improve on a 12-9 record from last season. Key seniors include Hunter Esiline, Tristen Nelson and Mason Powell.

“Those three have the most significant amount of playing time from last year,” Goodenow said.

The Bucks expect to use 6-foot-5 sophomore Trenton Holmes extensively.

Starters who graduated from last season include Matt Goodenow, Connor Hoaglund and Tyler Wing.

While his team works on getting basketball experience, Goodenow will focus on the basics.

“When they get into basketball shape,” the Bucks will focus on more basketball stuff, Goodenow indicated.

The district tournament starts March 6 at Morley Stanwood.

Goodenow expects McBain and Manton to be among the top teams in the Highland.