Pine River extends winning streak to seven games

LEROY — Pine River wasted little time in disposing of Manton in Highland Conference girls basketball play on Thursday.

The cousin combination of Julie and Kierra Justin combined for 24 first-half points to ignite the Bucks (10-3, 8-1) to a 41-14 lead at the intermission and a 65-33 victory for Pine River, which has won seven straight.

“I like the way we’re bringing our offense,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said. “The defense was decent, not great, but decent.”

Julie Justin netted a pair of 3-pointers and 11 points in the first quarter which ended in a 21-9 Bucks lead. Manton (5-8, 3-6) was down 15-0 before Mckenzie Hughes scored for the Rangers with 1:25 left in the opening quarter.

Kierra Justin started asserting herself inside in the second quarter and had a putback for a 32-6 Pine River bulge late in the half. Anselma Barnett scored a 3-pointer for the Bucks to end the first half.

Kierra Justin’s putback gave the Bucks a 45-16 lead with 5:55 left in the third quarter. Julie Justin’s basket at 1:40 put the Pine River lead at 51-18. It was 51-22 going into the fourth. It was Kierra Justin’s turn at 6:40 for a 53-22 advantage. Logan Powell’s 3-pointer gave the Bucks a 61-29 lead at 2:50.

Kierra Justin had 17 points and Julie Justin added 16. “They’ve been pretty consistent,” Ruppert said. “I thought our rebounding was good.”

Powell had 13 points and Barnett contributed 10.

“The key right now is to focus on offense and get good passes rather than throwing the ball away,” Barnett said. “Our rebounding was a really big thing. We’re still trying to work on that.”

Pine River is tied for first place in the league with McBain, which was the last team to defeat the Bucks.

“We have to protect the ball much better than we did the first time,” Ruppert said. “We turned it over way too many times. They’re a good defensive team, but nothing we can’t handle. We’ll have to match their intensity.”