Pine River remains undefeated with 41-38 win over Manistee

LEROY — It was a struggle for both teams but Pine River remained undefeated with a 41-38 victory over Manistee in nonleague boys basketball action on Monday night.

Both teams were sluggish offensively the entire game. But it was a night for the defenses to shine.

“We snuck one out,” Pine River coach Brian Goodenow said. “Manistee is gritty. We knew they were going to be that way. it was one of those nights for us when it seemed like someone put something on the basket. We couldn’t get anything to go.”

The Bucks, led by Tyler Wing with five points, fired out to a 6-0 lead and were up 11-4 after the first quarter.

Pine River (3-0) struggled offensively in the second quarter and the Chippewas took advantage with a run that put them in the lead, 14-13, with two minutes left in the half on a basket from Tai Allen. Wing hit a 3-pointer and Pine River scored the final five points of the half for an 18-14 lead.

Manistee (1-2) came out hot in the second quarter with Allen scoring for a 22-18 advantage. The Chippewas continued to lead but Hunter Esiline scored six points in the quarter and Bradley Holmes converted with 10 seconds to go for a 31-30 lead.

Esiline scored to open the fourth quarter and led the Bucks on a run that would give them a 41-33 advantage. Alejandro Olvera’s 3-pointer at 2:50 cut the advantage to 41-38. Both teams couldn’t convert on several scoring chances and committed several critical turnovers. Manistee turned it over with 14 seconds left and the Bucks were able to pass the ball around and kill the clock.

“We kept the energy high and thank goodness we had enough defense to stay in the game,” Goodenow said. “Our goal every game is to keep teams under 50, or 40 if possible. We mixed up our defense quite a bit. We played some man, we played some trapping zone and we played some straight zone.”

Wing led Pine River with 12 points while Esiline scored 10 and Mason Powell added nine.

“Rebounding, we have to have it and even though we didn’t do it that well, we have to do better than this,” Esiline said.” Our shooting percentage was low but we stuck in the game.”

“If there’s a positive to a game like this, other than getting a W, is it shows us a lot of things we can work on over the break,” Goodenow said. “We’ll work hard on those things and be ready for the Highland Conference.”

Olvera had 11 points for Manistee and Allen added nine.

“Both teams were hustling hard and working hard,” Coach Tina Miller said. “We can’t seem to put it in the (basket).”  

Pine River is off until Jan. 5 when it plays at Beal City to open the Highland season.