Pine River girls close season in regional semifinals

LEROY — Pine River’s championship girls basketball season came to a halt on March 8 at Kalkaska but in a very memorable way.

The Bucks fell to host Kalkaska 82-75 in overtime in the Class C regional semifinals to end their season at 18-6. The Blazers had a 14-11 lead after the first quarter and 30-25 at halftime. It was 42-28 early in the third quarter with the Blazers holding a 51-45 edge going into the fourth.

With a 25-19 scoring advantage in the fourth, the Bucks forced the game into overtime at 70-70. Kalkaska had a 12-5 points advantage in overtime.

“We started out a little slow because of the volleyball season,” said Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert. “They went so far. We kept getting better. By tournament time we played well. We weren’t completely healthy but as healthy as we have been.”

Molly Motzer had a memorable game in her final appearance with the Bucks with 31 points and 12 rebounds.

“We played with a lot of heart, had that never give up attitude and did the best we could,” Motzer said. “They were a really good team. They were quick and a different team that what we’re used to. They’re pretty quick and pretty talented. They shot the lights out when they played us.”

Miranda Nelson added 18 points and Haley Raymond was credited with 10 points and seven boards. The Bucks had 11 3-pointers.

“We shot about as well as we could,” Ruppert said. “That was a home game for them and it was packed. I’ll bet you there were 1,200 people there. It was a tough game. I was happy with the effort from the girls. I thought they played well.”

“It was the best season of my high school career,” Motzer said. “I think I had the most fun. This was a great bunch of girls to be with. It was definitely a fun ride. I couldn’t have been blessed with a better season.”

A major highlight was beating Manton and McBain to take the district title. The Bucks had lost to both of those teams twice during the regular season.

“The key thing was to stay focused,” Motzer said. “We knew what we did wrong the first two games. We watched film. We practiced hard. We had it in our minds were were going to win and were confident going into the game. We really wanted to win.”