Pine River celebrates district title over Lakeview

MORLEY — After a contested first half, the Pine River boys basketball team pulled away for a 50-33 win over Lakeview to claim a Class C district championship Saturday at Morley Stanwood High School.

The win gives Pine River its first district championship in four seasons.

“I’m obviously very pleased,” Bucks coach Brian Goodenow said. “It’s a great feeling, great for our kids. A lot of these guys won districts in football, so it’s been a great season for them.”

Mason Powell led the Bucks with 16 points and Tristen Nelson scored 13, 11 of which came in the second half. Trenton Holmes had 10 points and Hunter Esiline added seven.

“It’s awesome,” Powell said. “To win this game was a tremendous feeling.”

(Pine River advanced to Monday's regional game with Beaverton. See story above.)

The Bucks had Powell defend talented Lakeview junior Keola Kaaikala, who had a height and length advantage over Powell that he exploited early with jump shots and defensively with blocked shots.

But Powell’s defensive tenacity and quickness took Kaaikala out of the flow of the game, forcing him into tough shots and turnovers. He finished with 14 points and was the only Wildcat to score in double figures.

“He’s a tough ball player,” Powell said. “A lot of their stuff runs through him. He got the better of me a few times, but I just tried to shut him down.

“My teammates did a great job hedging. By hedging, talking on defense and crashing the boards, we got it done.”

The game started with the Wildcats and Bucks trading baskets in the first quarter. The Bucks held an 11-9 edge through one quarter of play.

In the second quarter, Powell and the Bucks were able to increase the lead by knocking down free throws and scoring points off turnovers. Pine River outscored Lakeview 14-7 in the second to take a 25-16 into halftime.

It was the Tristen Nelson show in the third quarter. He scored eight of the team’s 10 third-quarter points, including two 3-pointers that swung the momentum in Pine River’s favor. The Bucks took a 35-21 lead into the fourth quarter, where they continued their aggressive play.

“Tristen played a heck of a game,” Powell said. “He shot the ball tremendously and that’s how it should be. Senior year on the biggest stage of the game, and he was able to perform.

“It was awesome.”

The Bucks continued attacking the basket in the fourth and drew three consecutive fouls to start the quarter, which put the Wildcats in the penalty.

The Wildcats were unable to get much going offensively and the Bucks managed to push the lead to as many as 20 points before winning by 17.