Pine River basketball teams facing critical conference tests

LEROY — Pine River’s boys and girls basketball teams both have Highland Conference games coming up against tough teams.

The Pine River girls are home against Lake City on Thursday, while the Bucks are at McBain Northern Michigan Christian on Friday.

Both varsity teams were scheduled to be home Monday against Lakeview in nonleague action. Lakeview didn’t have school because of the weather and postponed its games with Pine River. There was no immediate word on a makeup date.

“We’re going to sure try,” Pine River boys coach Brian Goodenow said of rescheduling the Lakeview game. “We’d like to have a full slate of games. It’s going to be tough. They’re pretty regimented into Tuesdays and Fridays. It might be a challenge. I think both teams want to play it.”

Lake City’s girls are in first place in the Highland.

“They beat McBain by 25 the other night,” Pine River girls coach Shawn Ruppert said. “They’re pretty good this year. We’ll have to play well. We won’t be able to have our typical lapses. I think we can do it. But we’ll have to play better than what we have in most of our games this year. We play well at times. We haven’t been consistent.”

The Bucks on Jan. 12 defeated Marion 49-13. Julie Justin had 16 points and six steals, followed by Kierra Justin with 14 points and 12 points, and KayLee Goodman with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“We got up early and everybody played,” Ruppert said. “We ended up with 48 rebounds and had 16 steals. I was happy with our defense.”

Last Friday, the Bucks defeated McBain Northern Michigan Christian 46-31. Julie Justin scored 19 points, while Goodman had 10 points. Kierra Justin added nine points and 13 rebounds.

“Julie had a good night shooting,” Ruppert said. “Otherwise, we didn’t shoot that well. We were up 20-15 at halftime and had 18 points in the third quarter.”

The Pine River girls are 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the Highland.

The boys were scheduled to play Marion at home Tuesday night and will be at McBain NMC on Friday in league contests. Last Thursday, the Bucks lost to McBain at home 71-44. Tyler Wing scored 14 points, while Mason Powell had 13 points and Hunter Esiline netted nine points for Pine River. The Bucks shot 35 percent from the floor and committed 30 turnovers.