Pine River falls to Beaverton in Class C district finals

BEAVERTON – Beaverton’s defense did the trick against Pine River Friday night.

The host Beavers frustrated the Bucks, who struggled shooting for most of the night and suffered a 55-46 loss in the Class C district boys basketball finals at Beaverton.

Erik Maxwell scored 22 points while Spencer Johnston added 18 points for the Beavers.

Skyler Nelson led the Bucks with 20 points while Lucas Harris had 16.

Free-throw shooting was a major issue. The Bucks were 9-of-20 while the Beavers were 21-of-27.

“We made free throws,” said Beaverton coach Roy Johnston. “They had to foul us (late in the game) and we made the free throws. That helped us down the stretch.”

“We struggled a little bit particularly from the free-throw line,” said Pine River coach Brian Goodenow. “Those free throws could have made a difference.”

The two teams battled to a 26-26 first-half tie. Spencer Johnston was tough for the Beavers with 15 first-half points including 8-of-8 in free throws. Nelson had a strong first half with nine points to ignite the Bucks to a 14-11 lead after the first quarter.

Mitchell McDonald incurred two fouls in the first four minutes of the first quarter and was limited in his play for the first 16 minutes.

He was held to only three points in the first half, a triple late in the second quarter.

Brandon Hoaglund netted a 3-pointer with three seconds left in the first half to tie the game.

Johnston’s 3-pointer midway in the third quarter gave the Beavers a 35-30 lead. McDonald’s layup at 2:30 made it 36-35, Bucks.

Beaverton put on a run to end the quarter ahead 41-38.

Both teams continued to struggle with their shooting in the fourth quarter with Beaverton maintaining a slight lead. The Bucks missed four straight free throws midway in the quarter. Ronnie Remer scored for Beaverton at 3:50 and it was 45-39. Meanwhile, the Bucks couldn’t get anything to go through the net. Maxwell’s four straight free throws gave Beaverton a 49-40 lead at 2:00. Nelson’s triple at 1:40 was Pine River’s first basket from the floor in the fourth quarter. Harris’ triple at 1:10 cut the Beaver lead to 49-46.

Hogan Hayes hit two free throws at the other end for Beaverton. He added two more with 12 seconds to go for the 55-46 lead.

“Hats off to Beaverton, they’re a very good team,” Goodenow said. “ They had a great crowd and a good fan base here.”

Johnston said his team didn’t apply anything special defensively against the Bucks.

“We wanted to put pressure on them so they didn’t have good looks,” Johnston said. “You never play as well as you’d like.”

“We couldn’t execute very well,” Goodenow said. “That happens but unfortunately it came at a critical time.”

The contest was the first game this season between the two schools, and a matchup of Pine River from the Highland Conference and Beaverton from the Jack Pine. Pine River had defeated Evart and Beaverton eliminated Beal City and Sanford-Meridian earlier in the district tournament this week.

“We had a couple of kids that didn’t play real well, but down the end, they played pretty good,” Johnston said.

The season ends for the Bucks at 19-3.

“My heart goes out for our seniors,” Goodenow said. “Those kids have committed an awful lot to our program. I’m proud of them.”

McDonald, one of the Bucks’ top scorers all season, was limited to five points for Pine River.

Beaverton, 21-2, will play at Traverse City St. Francis 5:30 p.m. Monday in a Class C regional semifinal game against Lincoln-Alcona or Mio.

BEAVERTON 55, PINE RIVER 46

Pine River 14 12 12 08 — 46

Beaverton 11 15 15 14 — 55

Pine River 19-3

Brandon Hoaglund 0(1) 0-2 3, Skyler Nelson 5(2) 4-7 20, Lucas Harris 4(1) 5-9 16, Mitchell McDonald 1(1) 0-2 5, Schroeder Vanderhoof 1 0-0 2, Brandon Fulks 0 0-0 0, Gregory Park 0 0-0 0, Mason Powell 0 0-0 0. Totals 11(5) 9-20 46.