Pine River boys basketball team looks solid again

LEROY  — Pine River coach Brian Goodenow is coming off an undefeated Highland Conference championship season and the Bucks are hoping to have another enjoyable year.

This weekend, Goodenow’s team will be in the Cadillac holiday scrimmage.

This is the second week of practices. 

“We’ve got 12 guys on the team this year with six seniors returning,” Goodenow said, “plus five juniors and a sophomore.”

Many of the players were on the football team that played until Nov. 14 in the regional finals. The first date of basketball practices was Nov. 17.

“All but three of my guys were on the (football) team,” Goodenow said. “They all came in healthy with a few bumps and bruises. Everyone’s been able to participate fully since day one. They come in with a lot of confidence and positive feeling (from football) and want to keep that rolling.”

It’s Mitch McDonald’s fourth year as the starting point guard and Lucas Harris’ third year on the varsity. Greg Park, Brandon Fulks and Lucas Sizemore also saw action last season.

“We’re really deep this year that’s among our biggest strengths,” Goodenow said. “The junior class is very solid. They’ve played together since third grade and played a lot of basketball together and had success last year. We’re deep and can cycle in a lot of guys this year.”

Grant Ruppert, Connor Hoaglund, Marcus Washington, Matthew Goodenow and Tyler Wing are among the juniors on the team. Mason Powell, a sophomore, who was the starting quarterback for football, is also on the varsity basketball team.

“He’s a terrific athlete,” Brian Goodenow said of Powell. “Our biggest strength is our speed and we plan on playing to that. Our biggest difference this year is we’re deeper and had 10 to 11 guys who can see playing time.”

Goodenow is hoping the Bucks will be a league contender and expects Manton, McBain and Beal City to be among the main competition.

Pine River plays Dec. 9 at Harrison to open the season.