Pine River girls basketball team opens next Tuesday at Reed City


LEROY — Senior Kassy Nelson is in her fourth varsity season and will lead the charge for the Pine River girls basketball team for another winter.

Nelson, who recently signed a letter of intent to play college basketball at Saginaw Valley State University, is in her third week of preseason practice with her team for a season that starts next Tuesday at Reed City.

The Bucks are coming off a 14-4 season.

Coach Shawn Ruppert was hoping to find out more about his team last week during a scrimmage.

“I’ve been happy with the girls’ effort, I think we’re doing OK,” Ruppert said. “We’ll see when we go up against competition.”

Nelson will likely be in a similar role this season.

“She definitely was our go-to player last year in a lot of crucial situations,” Ruppert said. “She probably will be again this year along with girls that have a little bit of experience.”

Julie Justin, a sophomore, and Cheyanna Rizor, a senior, plus Keirra Justin, a sophomore, saw extensive playing time last season.

Rizor missed a portion of the season after sustaining an MCL tear. Jenna Johnson and Dana Hill are the only juniors. Sophomore Anna Lindquist and KayLee Goodman, a freshman, could see some playing time.

“We’ll be working into the post a little bit more for Rizor and Keirra,” Ruppert said. “We’ll still be an aggressive defensive team.”

McBain, Beal City and Northern Michigan Christian could be among the top Highland Conference teams, Ruppert indicated. The Bucks also hope to fit into that mix. The first home game will be Dec. 9 against McBain.