By Matt Wenzel

Pioneer News Network

BRETHREN — First it was offensive rebounding and second-chance points.

Then outside shooting and crisp passing, pressure defense and transition baskets.

Essentially, whatever Pine River wanted to do it did as the Bucks rolled to a 66-22 win against Brethren on Monday night.

“I was happy with our effort,” said Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert. “We’ve had a tendency to let down in the second half when we get up big, but I thought the second half tonight we played hard.”

Brethren coach Julie Riggs, a Pine River graduate coaching against her former school for the first time, wasn’t thrilled with how her Bobcats competed.

“The girls have to find their fight,” she said. “They have to find their drive, their will to want it.”

Jamie Justin scored all of her game-high 18 points in the first half to go with 12 rebounds and five assists to lead the Bucks (5-1). Devyn Powell chipped in 11 points and Cayman Gatt scored nine for Pine River, which has won five straight since a season-opening loss to Reed City.

Annie MacNeil scored all nine of her team-high nine points in the first half and finished with six rebounds and five blocks.

Brethren (3-3) shot just 17 percent (7-for-39) from the field and 42 percent (8-for-19) from the free throw line.

MacNeil scored the first three points of the game, but the Bucks responded with a 12-0 run and never looked back. Pine River dominated on the glass in the first quarter and finished the game with 21 offensive rebounds.

“I was really happy with our rebounding on both ends,” Ruppert said. “I thought we got after the ball on the floor.”

Justin scored nine points in the first quarter and nine more in the second as the Bucks took a 37-16 lead into halftime.

“She didn’t start out well at all,” Ruppert said. “She was struggling a little bit and then she hit one. That’s how shooters are.”

The Bucks scored the first eight points of the second half and limited Brethren to just six points over the final 16 minutes, leading to a running clock after a 40-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

“I thought we played hard,” Ruppert said. “I thought the effort was there and I thought our help defense was decent.”

Riggs said Pine River is the best team the Bobcats will face all season.

“We knew that going into it,” she said. “As disappointing as the loss is, it’s good to play better teams like that.”

The Bucks are off for the holidays.

PINE RIVER 57, MARION 21

Kassy Nelson scored 16 points while Jamie Justin added 13 points to lead Pine River to a 57-21 Highland Conference victory Friday night at PR.

Gatt and Powell had eight points apiece for the Bucks, who are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the league.

Pine River had 17 rebounds with Gatt, Powell and Haley Raymond grabbed three rebounds each. Nelson had three assists.

“In the first quarter we were a little sloppy, we stood around too much,” Ruppert said. “The second quarter, we played very well. Kassy Nelson had a nice game, Cayman Gatt played well.”

The Bucks led 14-5 after the first quarter and Raymond scored late in the second quarter for a 37-7 lead. It was 47-17 at halftime and 55-13 after the third period. Most of the fourth quarter was played with a running clock.

Pioneer sports writer John Raffel contributed to his report.