LEROY — Pine River’s girls basketball team showed on Tuesday (Dec. 13) how critical it is to have depth.

The Bucks (4-0, 2-0) were playing without leading rebounder and one of its top scorers, Kierra Justin, who was out with an illness. But it didn’t matter, with cousin Julie Justin scoring 20 points and Anna Lindquist adding 19 in a 66-37 Highland Conference win over Beal City (1-4, 0-2).

Taylor Hill scored late in the first quarter to give the Bucks a 20-9 lead after the first eight minutes.

Julie Justin had 14 points, including two 3-pointers to pace her team to a 41-19 halftime lead. Natalie Gross had 11 points in the first half for Beal City. She didn’t score in the second half.

Kaylee Goodman’s jumper gave the Bucks a 45-22 lead midway in the third quarter. Justin’s basket moments later made it 49-24. It was 51-27 after three periods. Goodman’s baseliner at 3:10 made it 62-31. Goodman had 14 points, Lindquist eight rebounds and Justin six assists.

“We didn’t play great defense,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said. “There were too many fouls. We have to get better at not fouling. Our rebounding, we depend on Kierra too much. I thought Anna Lindquist played a nice game tonight. Logan Powell in the second half had some nice passes.”

Pine River was scheduled to be at Manton on Thursday. Ruppert was hopeful of getting Kierra Justin back in the lineup.    

“We have to get better at defense and stopping the penetration,” Julie Justin said. “(Thursday) will be a good game.”

As it turns out, the game was postponed because of snow. No make-up date has been announced. The Bucks were scheduled to be home Tuesday against Gladwin. They play at McBain on Jan. 6.