Pine River freshman getting the job done at guard


LEROY  —  From one Justin to another.

Julie Justin left a huge void in the Pine River girls basketball lineup when she graduated from last year’s district championship team. She’s now playing at Davenport University.

Her sister, Julie Justin, is on the team as a freshman. She played middle school basketball but was brought up this season to be on the varsity and has served as a starter. She focused a lot on basketball during the fall season.

““I played with (varsity players) in the summer and started practicing with them like the first day of practice,” Justin said.

She then made the varsity team.

“I was happy I made varsity,” Justin said. “I was nervous my first game. (After that) I became more relaxed.”

She’s been an outside guard with point duties at times. Kassy Nelson has also been working at point guard.

“I’m there to shoot and looking for the open girls,” Justin said. “I think I’m doing a pretty good job of finding the open girls.”

Pine River has started out 3-2.

“We played pretty good against McBain (in a close loss) and Reed City (in a close win),” Justin said.

The key to beating McBain in a rematch will be “pushing the ball up the floor and not letting them push it up the floor,” Justin said, adding that this aspect of the game, plus transition, has been a focus on practices over the break.

Justin watched her older sister play throughout her high school career.

“I think she runs the floor better than me and she shoots more. She has a better shot,” Julie Justin said. “I think I see the open girl better.”

Justin also likes the way she’s been playing defense. But she’s working on her offense.

“I think I can get quite a bit better,” she said.

The Bucks resume the season at home Jan. 7 at Northern Michigan Christian High School.