Pine River boys basketball team getting ready for a new season

LEROY — Pine River’s boys basketball team is gearing up for defense of its Highland Conference crown with the Bucks trying to test themselves effectively with three preseason scrimmages.

That includes a two-hour scrimmage Saturday morning at the school against Baldwin and Maple City Glen Lake.

Last Friday, the Bucks were at the annual Cadillac holiday scrimmage. Earlier this week they also were scheduled to be at a Clare scrimmage.

“For us this year, I know all these kids so well and I (already) know what they’re capable of,” Bucks coach Brian Goodenow said. “This is more of a fine-tuning and working on our offense and seeing what things will work for us on defense. Even though it’s still early, I consider this more fine-tuning at this point, with this group anyway.”

The season opens Dec. 9 at Harrison. Home games are Dec. 11 with Traverse City Christian and Dec. 15 with Chippewa Hills.

Many players were on the football team that played until November. That created a challenge for the basketball staff to quickly get the athletes in the hoops mode.

“Basketball shape is different than football shape. They’re getting there pretty quickly,” Goodenow said, noting that “we run a conditioning program, one we started last year and a whole different way of approaching it. The guys have bought into it and like it a lot. We run as a reward for good things.”