Pine River girls fall to McBain in district finals

LEROY — It was a strong girls basketball season for the Pine River Bucks, who lost 54-50 Friday at McBain against the host school in the Class C district final.

The Bucks ended the season at 17-4. But the Highland Conference champions came very close to taking a district crown.

They were leading by 11 points in the first half when coach Shawn Ruppert cited a key moment in the game. Julie Justin was whistled for an offensive foul, her third of the game, and was forced to sit for several minutes.

“It was a very questionable call,” Ruppert said.

Later in the game, the Ramblers netted some 3-point baskets to take control

“They had something like four 3-pointers in the last two minutes,” Ruppert said. “They shot the ball really well at the end of the game.”

Kierra Justin and KayLee Goodman had 15 points apiece for Pine River, Logan Powell added 10 and Julie Justin made nine.

McBain took advantage of the home court situation, Ruppert said.

“Being at home makes you feel more comfortable,” he said. “ I really felt if that game was anywhere else, we may have won the game. That was the best game I saw them shoot. We played well, too. It was a hard fought game. It went down to the wire. The last three times we had the ball, we didn’t get a shot off. That hurt us.

“They beat us by 15 when we played them over there. They weren’t playing that well. They put it together in that final game.”

Earlier in the week in the semifinals, Pine River topped Manton 51-23. Julie Justin had 19 points and four assists.