Pine River girls win two league games

LEROY — Pine River’s girls basketball team opened its Highland conference season with two wins last week.

The victories improve Pine River’s record to 2-2 overall going into the holiday break.

Pine River defeated Manton 64-26 on Friday. The Bucks were ahead 20-6 after the first quarter, 31-11 at halftime and 45-14 after three periods.

“I think it was probably our most complete game so far,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said. “We came out strong. I thought we maintained our intensity throughout the game. The bench did a nice job.”

Julie Justin scored 22 points and added three steals. Kierra Justin added 10 points and 12 rebounds. KayLee Goodman scored nine points. Taylor Warner had eight points.

“Julie shot the ball well,” Ruppert said. “I thought our offense, it was the best we’ve shown. We hit our shots.”

On Dec. 15, the Bucks opened the Highland season with a road game at Beal City and earned a 67-25 victory. Julie Justin had 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, while Goodman added 13 points.

Pine River is home Jan. 5 against Benzie Central. The Bucks have a scrimmage at Kingsley on Dec. 31.

Pine River boys basketball

Pine River is 3-0 but hasn’t played since Dec. 14, and won’t have another game until Jan. 5 at Beal City for a 22-day break.

“Last year, it was 21,” Goodenow said. “That’s exceptionally long. I believe we lost our first game coming out of break last year. It’s a challenge for the kids to stay focused.”

Pine River has a scrimmage on Dec. 30 at Glen Lake and will try to create as much of a game atmosphere as possible, Goodenow said. He said he would have preferred the last game before break to be later in the week rather than a Monday, in order to make it a shorter break by a few games.

“That’s the way the schedule worked out,” he said.