LEROY — Both basketball teams wanted some momentum going into the Christmas break.

But it was Pine River which will take some winning momentum into the holidays.

Pine River (1-2) defeated Manistee (1-3) 53-47 in non-league action on Dec. 20.

“It was hard-fought like we thought it would be,” Pine River coach Brian Goodenow said. “We scrimmaged Manistee before the season started. I thought it would be a fairly evenly-matched game and it certainly was.”

Manistee got off to a strong offensive start and led 15-10 after the first quarter. Lucas Hill and Sasha Huffman both had 3-pointers in the first to keep the Bucks in the game.

Hoffman hit a 3-pointer in the second to give Pine River a 20-19 lead going into halftime as Manistee’s offense struggled with only four points in the quarter.

Austin Guenther’s 3-pointer gave Manistee a 31-30 lead with 2:40 left in the third quarter. Huffman scored with 20 seconds left in the quarter for a Bucks’ 35-31 lead.

Elijah Lewis hit a 3-pointer, followed by two free throws after Manistee was called for an intentional foul at 6:01.

Hill’s basket made it 42-37 with 3:50 to play. Lewis scored off a steal at 1:55 for a 46-40 Pine River lead. Anselma Sarabia scored for Manistee to make it a four-point game. Huffman missed two free throws at 1:45. Both teams followed with key turnovers while it was 46-44. Huffman hit two free throws and it was 48-44. Huffman grabbed the rebound at the other end, was fouled and hit two free throws.

Jacob Gustad scored a 3-pointer for Manistee and it was 50-47, Pine River, with 20.2 seconds to play. Lane Ruppert was fouled with 17.2 seconds to go and hit one. He grabbed the rebound at the other end, was fouled and missed both free throws but got the offensive rebound and scored to end the game.

“We’re still struggling to find flow in our offense,” Goodenow said. “But I’m pleased with our defense. Tonight, our effort was outstanding.”

Huffman scored 20 points for Pine River while Lewis had 11 and Ruppert nine.

“Defensively, we struggled,” Huffman said. “We moved the ball fairly well on offense.”

Gustad had 13 points for Manistee.

Pine River is at Beal City on Jan. 2 in Highland Conference action.