Pine River rolls past Evart girls

EVART — Pine River’s girls basketball team is obviously on a roll.

The Bucks (9-3) stretched their winning streak to six games on Monday with a 42-34 nonleague win over Brethren.

Pine River is home Thursday against Manton.

The Bucks on Friday defeated Beal City 61-27.

“We played good defense in the first half and shared the ball well,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said.

Julie Justin scored 19 points for the Bucks, while Kierra Justin had 13 points and Anna Lindquist scored 11 points.

The Bucks stormed out to a 31-2 halftime lead against Evart on Tuesday (Jan. 26), and rolled to a 61-18 Highland Conference girls basketball victory.

The Bucks were coming off a 41-27 win over previously undefeated Lake City. But Evart was also coming off some momentum with a 31-21 victory over Marion.

Pine River was able to neutralize Evart’s main weapon, Mara VanOrder, who has been averaging in double figures in points and rebounds. She didn’t score in the first half and had a team-high nine points overall before fouling out midway in the fourth quarter.

“We had good defense in the first half,” Ruppert said. “We didn’t give up any open looks. That was key. And we rebounded well.”

Lindquist scored six points in a first quarter that ended 14-2. Cyana Dellar scored Evart’s only points.

But in the second, the Wildcats (1-10, 1-6) continued to struggle while penetrating the Pine River defense. Justin had a putback early in the quarter for an 18-2 lead. Julie Justin and Logan Powell scored four points apiece in a 17-point Pine River second quarter.

VanOrder scored her first basket to open the third quarter. Kierra Justin, who had been playing strong defense on VanOrder, scored inside for the Bucks who led 33-4. Julie Justin netted a 3-point shot for a 41-7 lead halfway through the quarter. It was 47-9 going into the fourth.

“We ran the floor really well and played good defense,” Julie Justin said. “We’ve been running the floor and getting lots of fast-break layups.”

Lindquist led Pine River with 16 points, Goodman and Kierra Justin had 10 points apiece and Julie Justin added nine.

“We’re playing now like I knew that we could,” Ruppert said. “I just think our new players are starting to mature. We’re playing better together.

“Offensively, we’re more deliberate sometimes than we have to be and aren’t in so much of a rush,” Ruppert said. “I like our discipline on offense.”