Pine River girls take step in right direction



LEROY -- The Pine River girls' basketball team took a large step in the right direction and has set itself up to be a serious contender in the next season to come.

After going winless two years ago, the Buck ladies turned in a 6-15 overall record and went 5-11 against fellow Highland-Conference opponents, earning a seven-place finish in the league ahead of Beal City and Roscommon.

It was Pine River coach Paula Justin's first season in charge of the Bucks.

"We had a lot of close games and I wish we could have pulled off a few more wins," Justin said.

Throughout the season, Pine River's girls seldom let any games slip away from them and fought hard on the court for 32 minutes every game.

PR also managed to finish the regular season on a bit of a hot streak, winning three of their final four games.

Justin complimented her team and hopes it can make it further into the postseason, as her players build more chemistry and become more acclimated with one another.

"We have gotten to know each other and some of the expectations for our program," Justin said. "This group is very coachable and I hope we will be able to put in some hard work in the offseason and come in ready to make some noise."

There will not be many spots on the team next season, with the Bucks expecting to graduate three girls from this year's team: Becca Horan, Daria Lindquist, and Chelsea Wanstead.

Eight players will be back on the court for Pine River for the 2020-21 basketball season: Madi Sparks, Hailey Wanstead, Avery Sumpter, Kendra Montague, Esde Kotje, CoNesha Holmes, and Kim Hill.

"I feel this year's team gained confidence over the course of this season, and I am looking forward to next year," Justin said.