LEROY – It’s the first week of action for the Pine River girls basketball team who have another big test coming up Thursday night when they play at Morley Stanwood.

Tuesday, the Bucks opened their season at Reed City.

Both of those are non-league games.

“Morley Stanwood and Reed City are always going to have decent teams,” said Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert. “That’s why we play them the first week. They will have good teams every year”

Morley Stanwood are the defending Class C state champions, but graduated most of their staters from last season, including all-staters Alexis Huntey and Bailey Cairnduff. They are coached by former Pine River Bucks athlete Bob Raven.

The Bucks are home Dec. 4 against Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart in another non-league game. The Highland Conference opener is Dec. 11 at a home against league power McBain. But a tough non-league schedule, Ruppert notes, will get his team ready for conference challenges like McBain.

“We have quite a few seniors and other players returning,” Ruppert said, noting that players like Jamie Justin, Cayman Gatt, Haley Raymond, Devyn Powell, Erica Buchner and Kassy Nelson “all started at one point last year.”