Pine River girls celebrate league title

TITLE WINNERS: Cayman Gatt (20) of Pine River makes a pass in recent action.(File photo)
TITLE WINNERS: Cayman Gatt (20) of Pine River makes a pass in recent action.(File photo)

LEROY — Pine River is hosting the girls basketball districts this week with hopes of claiming a second trophy for the season.

For the second time in four years the Pine River girls basketball team captured the Highland Conference title.

The Bucks put the finishing touches on the league championship with a 51-34 victory over Beal City on the Aggies home gym Tuesday of last week. Pine River is 14-0 in the Highland Conference.

“I think they really are a team,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said. “We don’t have a big girl down low that is going to score 16 points and grab 10 rebounds. We go up against teams bigger than us night after night, but we hang there with them.”

Jamie Justin led the way for the Bucks with 13 points and eight rebounds. Devyn Powell added 10 points and four assists and Erica Buchner tallied eight points and four boards.

Cayman Gatt finished with eight steals, seven rebounds and four assists.

Pine River expects to possibly be in the finals against McBain this Friday night.

“I don’t care about the draw, “said Ruppert, who said he has enough experienced players that playing or not playing Monday isn’t a major factor.

Pine River has won 18 straight since an opening-day loss to Reed City.

“My mentality is we weren’t ready to play that game and Reed City was,” Ruppert said. “I knew we were more capable than that.”

It’s as long of a win streak as Ruppert can remember in his basketball coaching career.

“Our closest game was against Sacred Heart,” Ruppert said, adding that for districts, “you never know what’s going to happen. I’m confident the girls will show up and be ready to play each game.”

Pioneer prep editor Bob Allan also contributed to this report.