Bucks down Farwell girls to advance to district semifinal

FARWELL — It was Kassy Nelson’s night and, as a result, the Pine River Bucks will be playing on Wednesday. Nelson scored 24 points, including 16 points in the first half, to lead the Bucks past Farwell, 53-29, Monday night in a first-round Class C girls basketball district game. Pine River, 15-3 overall, plays at Beal City Wednesday night in a district semifinal game against the host Aggies. A big 23-point third quarter helped the Bucks seal the victory. Nelson had three triples in the first quarter to help Pine River enjoy a 9-6 lead. Both teams struggled offensively in the second quarter, although Pine River’s defense kept the visitors in charge. Nelson hit two free throws and two field goals. Kierra Justin, who had four points from off the bench, played a key role in lifting the Bucks to a 21-10 halftime advantage. “A couple of girls were nervous,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said. “We weren’t ready to play.” Nelson had a three-point play early in the third quarter for a 26-10 Bucks advantage. Pine River applied the full-court pressure in the third and it paid off nicely. Kelsey scored off a backcourt steal and Pine River was up 30-14 at 5:05.“I thought the press moved us up a little bit and we were hustling and got a little more aggressive,” Ruppert said. Nelson, who’s been nursing a sore knee in recent weeks, had a head-on collision at halfcourt early in the third that put her on the bench for a few minutes. But the Bucks didn’t miss a beat. Page Esiline’s jumper gave her team a 33-14 lead. Kelsey had a strong quarter with nine points and scored at 1:30 for a 39-18 lead. Nelson returned for a triple at 0:25 and a 44-18 advantage going into the fourth. Kelsey took a pass underneath from Esiline for a layup at 2:18 and 49-29 lead. “It was slow going,” Nelson said. “We didn’t play very well. I feel the nerves just got to us.” Kelsey had 14 points for the Bucks along with eight rebounds. Nelson also had four steals. Kierra Justin had 10 boards. “She’s been coming on the last couple of weeks,” Ruppert said of Justin, “which is important because we lost (Cheyanna Rizor) a couple of weeks ago (to a knee injury). She’s had to fill a lot bigger role.” Farwell ends its season at 7-12. The Eagles were led by Bria Colosky with seven points. “Give Pine River credit,” said Farwell coach Tom Kleinhardt. “They have a couple of guards that raised havoc with ours. We didn’t match up good with them on the top. Our regular season point guard went down after Christmas. We miss that.” PINE RIVER 53, FARWELL 29 Pine River 11 10 23 19 — 53 Farwell 06 04 08 11 — 29 Pine River, 15-1 Paige Esiline 2 0-0 4, Julie Justin 1 1-2 3, Kassy Nelson 3(4) 6-6 24, Erin Koetje 1 0-0 2, Michelle Kelsey 5 4-9 14, Kierra Justin 3 0-0 6. Totals 15(4) 11-17 53.