MCBAIN — Pine River’s girls basketball team (16-2, 9-2) retained a share of first place in the Highland Conference with Friday’s 54-42 victory over McBain Northern Michigan Christian.

It was tied 21-21 at halftime, but the Bucks outscored NMC 33-21 in the second half to blow the game open.

Logan Powell led the Bucks with 18 points and Julie Justin had 16.

Kierra Justin added eight points and 13 rebounds.

“In the first quarter we did everything right except put the ball in the basket,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said. “We just didn’t shoot well. We should have been up by 15 at the end of the first quarter. So we let them stick around and they fought back. In the third, we started hitting. I am happy with how we’re playing. We’re doing what we have to do and win the conference.”

On Feb. 14, Pine River was home in a 59-39 non-league win over Clare, Julie and Kierra Justin had 16 points. Anna Lindquist scored eight points and Logan Powell and Kaylee Goodman added seven.

“Clare had been playing pretty well,” Ruppert said. “They beat the two top teams in their conference (Jack Pine). I was happy the way we played that night. We came out pretty intense.”

Pine River plays Lake City on Thursday in the regular-season finale.

“They could very well beat us if we’re not ready to play,” Ruppert said.