Pine River girls bolt past Marion

LEROY ― A fast and furious start paved the way for the Pine River Bucks Friday night in a 63-26 girls basketball victory over Marion in a Highland Conference contest.

Michelle Kelsey netted 12 points and Kassy Nelson added two 3-pointers in a first quarter that ended with a 23-6 Pine River lead and allowed the Bucks to control the rest of the game.

Kelsey and Nelson finished with 20 and 16 points respectively.

Julie Justin added 13 points.

Pine River was killing the Eagles on the fast breaks during the first half.

But the Bucks went from 23 points in the first quarter to nine points in the second.

“We went to a zone in the second and don’t typically do that,” said Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert. “We just tried that. Then we went back to a man in the second half because I thought we got a little lazy.”

Justin’s 3-point play came off the break late in the second quarter and gave Pine River the 17-point halftime advantage.

“They pushed the ball really well and they shot really well,” said Marion coach Brian Miller. “We had way too many turnovers.”

Kelsey hit two baskets early in the third quarter to lift the Bucks to a 38-16 lead. Justin followed with a 3-pointer at 4:47. Kelsey had eight points in the quarter, which ended in a 46-19 score.

Justin scored early in the fourth for a 50-19 Pine River lead.

“I was happy with our effort,” Ruppert said. “Girls like Morgan Sumpter. I thought she played a great game. I thought Julie Justin played very well defensively. Kassy and Michelle both shot the ball very well (Friday).”

Also for the Bucks, Justin had six assists, and four steals. Erin Koetje led in rebounds with 11 boards while Kierra Justin had nine boards. Kelsey added six steals and four assists.

Chloe Johnson led Marion, 1-8 in the league and 4-11 overall with 13 points.

Pine River, 8-2 in the Highland and 11-3 overall, plays Thursday at Lake City.

“We’re hoping to get a couple of girls healthy,” Ruppert said. “Cheyanna (Rizor), I’m hoping she’ll get back (from knee problems). Kassy has a bad leg. She shot the ball well.”