Pine River slips past Morley Stanwood

MORLEY — Morley Stanwood boys basketball coach Josh Bull liked his team’s second-half comeback but didn’t enjoy the final 66-63 verdict.

Not surprising, Pine River coach Scott Benson took the opposite view on both counts.

Lincoln Erickson scored 23 points while Hunter Powell added 18 points and six rebounds to lead the Bucks to their second win in three outings this season on Dec. 20.

Travis McCuaig had a big night for the Mohawks with 27 points, seven rebounds five steals and four assists while Tyler Hanks added 18 points for the host team which fell to 2-3.

“I’m not a happy camper,” said Benson. “They deserved to win, we didn’t. But then again, we have a bunch of young kids that haven’t played at this level. They’re not used to the athleticism and quickness. Mitchell McDonald, a freshman, is going up against kids a lot older.”

Skyler Nelson’s 3-pointer gave Pine River a 50-38 lead midway in the third. But a baseliner by Adam Wheeler with eight seconds left in the half cut the Bucks lead to 56-50.

Pine River continued to hang on throughout the fourth quarter. Midway in the quarter, the Bucks missed five lay-ins in a row after consecutive offensive rebounds.

Hanks scored with 12.7 seconds left off a steal to make it 64-63, Pine River. Grant Gugle missed a free throw for Pine River but Morley Stanwood threw the ball away. Powell was fouled and hit both free throws for the 3-point lead.

“We have pretty good chemistry,” Powell said. “We have to work on a few things,”

In a high-flying first quarter, Erickson scored eight points for the Bucks, who also notched triples from Nelson, Devin Ruppert and Powell for a 21-16 lead. Powell and Erickson scored nine points apiece for the Bucks in the second quarter. Travis McCuaig kept the Mohawks in the game with 11 points in the second quarter while Tim Cairnduff added a triple.

“We played all right but we can play much better,” Powell said. “We need to take care of the ball and rebound.”

Pine River is 2-1 and Morley Stanwood 2-3.

Pine River is home Jan. 3 against McBain.