Pine River boys top Evart



LEROY — On Thursday night, the Pine River boys’ basketball team hit the road to take on Evart for the first of two games this year with its Highland Conference adversaries.

The result was a 66-38 triumph for the Bucks, giving the boys their second victory of the season and bringing PR’s overall record to 2-7 (2-5) overall.

While it’s only win number two for head coach Brian Goodenow and his squad, it’s the second consecutive positive result for Pine River, following seven straight losses at the start of the shortened season.

After the result, Goodenow said it was the most complete game he’s seen his team play all season long and attributed the win to his players’ intensity from start to finish.

Offensively, the Bucks fired on all cylinders from pretty much anywhere on the court — especially from beyond the three-point arc, where PR truly distanced itself for the duration of the competition.

With the buckets coming from a variety of sources, five different Pine River boys reached double-digit scoring totals in the winning effort.

Jayce Methner (13), Isaac McKinley (12), Garett Sumpter (11), Hunter Kanouse (10) and Isaiah Dennis (10) each had Evart’s defense frustrated for the game’s entirety.

Goodenow pointed out that none of the up-tempo scoring would be possible without the efforts of the Buck defensive unit.

“Our secret to success on offense is we have to be intense on defense,” Goodenow said.

As a team, the Bucks caught fire from long distance early and followed with a steady flow of three-pointers throughout the competition.

Goodenow acknowledged that the long ball might not always be available, but was still comfortable with the number of attempts his players made from beyond the arc.

“We have some guys that are some streaky shooters but, when they’re on, they’re on,” Goodenow said. “Garett Sumpter is, for my money, one of the better three-point shooters in the area when he gets opportunities.”

The Pine River coach also said he would like to see Kanouse continue to be aggressive with his hot selection going forward.

At times, the 2021 season has been a struggle for Goodenow and his players, but Thursday’s triumph could be a sign of things to come.

Dominating their opponents in virtually every aspect of the game, the Bucks imposed themselves on the host Wildcats from the contest’s first inbound pass.

In a season where consistency has been more difficult to maintain than perhaps ever before,

“We dug ourselves a deep hole at the start of the season,” Goodenow said. “We’re working toward the postseason. The conference is out of our reach at this point, but we’re working for the district. It’s good to have a good feeling at the place where districts are going to be held.”

Pine River will see Evart one more time in the regular season on March 19.