LEROY — Pine River stormed to a 20-3 season in boys basketball that included Highland Conference and Class C district titles.

It was also Brian Goodenow’s first year as coach.

“Overall, it was a very successful season,” Goodnow said. ”It was great watching a group of guys come together as a team and play for each other and for the school and their community.”

Goodenow took over last June but had time to work with the team over the summer.

“I had worked with all those guys in one form or another like as freshman basketball players and also in baseball. I had a good relationship with all of them. That made for a very good transition.”

The Bucks started out 10-0 before losing to Beal City. They lost their second game to McBain. But then the Bucks were able to finish at 17-2 for the regular season and go 3-0 to win districts.

“It really was a challenge,” Goodenow said. ”We lost to McBain, then we had a quick turnaround Monday night against a good Mason County Central team. I thought to myself that this was going  to tell us a lot. That could have been a letdown game since they spent so much emotion on the (McBain) game. But they came out (against MCC) and played terrific. After that, I felt confident the ship was righted and things would be fine.”

Five seniors have graduated with Joey Bowman, Lincoln Erickson, Tyler Lewis, Devin Ruppert and Ethan Whitley.

They won’t be easy to replace.

“But I do feel we have a strong core coming back with Mitchell McDonald, Skyler Nelson, Brandon Hoaglund and Lucas Harris,” Goodenow said. ”They all got considerable playing time this year. That fifth spot, we’ll see who steps into it. But we have four guys who we know will be contributors. It makes it fun to anticipate.”