Pine River boys season ends in loss to McBain

LEROY — Pine River’s boys basketball team went up against undefeated McBain last Wednesday in a district semifinal on the Bucks’ home floor.

But the Ramblers prevailed 59-37, and then defeated Manton 46-43 for the classic district title on Friday.

On Monday, McBain improved to 24-0 with a 60-55 win over Beaverton in the regionals.

Hunter Esiline had 16 points for Pine River.

The Bucks were 0-3 against the powerful Ramblers this season.

“We didn’t execute as well as I would have liked,” Bucks coach Brian Goodenow said. “The biggest problem was we couldn’t make shots. Even in the first quarter, we were hanging in. We were getting some quality open looks that we just didn’t finish.”

The Bucks ended their season at 12-9.

“We struggled to score all year,” Goodenow said. “It wasn’t anything that shocking (against McBain). We turned it over quite a bit. They get a lot of credit for that. They play a hard pressure defense. My takeaway from the game is it was a microcism of the season. The kids were up against it. We had a lot of adversity this year. We achieved probably what we should have expected. They’re quality kids and I’m proud of my kids. They’re great role models for our school and community.

“They’re a great bunch of kids.”

A one-point loss to Newaygo at the end of the season “was an enjoyable game to watch and participate in with two good teams going at each other really hard,” Goodenow said. “It didn’t end up in our favor, but it was still an excellent high school basketball game. The home game against Lake City, the second time we played them, was one of our better games of the year.

“We went on a winning streak at the end of the year that started with a win over NMC in the middle of February. We put in a nice stretch of six games in a row after that, winning five out of those last six to end the regular season. We were playing good team basketball at that point.”

Hunter Esiline and Mason Powell are among the key players returning. Tristen Nelson missed the first several weeks of the season from a lingering football injury. Both he and Brady Holmes are expected to log a lot of minutes next season.