Pine River girls advance in districts

FARWELL — That was fast.

The Pine River Bucks made quick work of Lake City to score a 61-31 victory Monday night in Class C district first-round girls basketball action at Farwell.

It was a battle of Highland Conference teams and marked the third win this season for the Bucks over Lake City.

The Bucks, who are 15-6, return to Farwell Wednesday night (6 p.m.) to play Clare, 17-3, and Jack Pine Conference champions. The winner would play in the title game Friday.

“I think we’ll be ready,” said Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert. “A lot of people scored and shot the ball for us. It was nice for us in that nobody had to play a lot. There were no injuries.”

Pine River fired out to an 11-0 lead, sparked on a 3-pointer by Jamie Justin, to take early control of the game. It was 19-8 after the first quarter. Kassy Nelson opened the second quarter with five points and the Bucks fired out to a 28-8 lead before the Trojans converted. Justin and Nelson both sank triples in the quarter and the Bucks were up 37-16 at halftime.

“I felt we started out kind of slow but then we got into the groove and started playing our game,” said sophomore Michelle Kelsey. “Our offense, we were shooting well inside and we hit some outside shots that really helped.”

Kelsey, Justin and Raymond netted triples early in the third quarter for a 45-18 lead. Chelsea Nelson scored two straight baskets later in the quarter for a 49-22 lead. Raymond scored at 3:20 of the fourth for a 59-26 Pine River lead.

Lake City’s season ends at 5-16.

“I don’t think we were very motivated tonight, but I think Wednesday we’ll be more motivated and ready to play,” said sophomore Devyn Powell. “It’s hard to come out strong on Monday.”

Justin scored 11 points for Pine River and Powell had 10 points. Maggie Eising had 12 points for Lake City.

“We have to be smart with the ball, play good defense and rebound,” Kelsey said of upcoming action this week.

Clare lost to Highland Conference champion McBain during the regular season. The Bucks fell twice to the Ramblers.

“They’ll be good,” Ruppert said of Clare. “I think we match up with them OK because they’re not real big either. We’ll have to rebound well.”

On Friday Pine River lost its final regular-season game to Manton 50-36. Justin scored 11 points for the Bucks.

The Bucks defeated Beal City 71-48 on Feb. 21 at home. Pine River had a 31-30 halftime lead and was up 46-39 after three quarters.

Justin scored 18 points and had six assists for the Bucks. Erica Buchner and Powell had 12 points apiece. Raymond collected eight rebounds and five steals.

The Bucks finished third in the league.

“It was pretty good,” Ruppert said of the regular season. “We were banged up in our last three games.”