Pine River stays undefeated in conference race

LEROY — Pine River’s boys basketball team took another step toward the Highland Conference title with a 71-34 victory over Lake City Thursday night.

Mitchell McDonald led Pine River’s explosive offense with 20 points while Lucas Harris added 14 and Skyler Nelson put in 10.

“I’m real happy the way we’re moving the ball right now,” said Pine River coach Brian Goodenow. “We’re working until we get the open shot and knock it down. I obviously need to give credit to our defense. (Lake City) is a good team. To hold them to 34 points is a great team defensive effort.”

The win put the Bucks at 12-0 in the league and clinched a title tie.

It was Pine River’s senior night and Schroeder Vanderhoof saw a starting spot. He responded with the game’s first two baskets. McDonald netted a pair of triples to spark the Bucks to a 14-5 lead after the first quarter.

McDonald had five points and Nelson added two 3-pointers in the second to give the Bucks a lead of 32-14 at one stage. Lake City hit the final five points of the quarter to make it 32-19 at halftime. Drew Marion kept the Trojans in touch with nine second-quarter points.

Marion opened the third quarter with five straight points before Brandon Hoaglund responded with a 3-pointer. Lucas Harris’ 3-point play at 4:05 gave the hosts a 40-26 lead. McDonald’s fourth triple of the night at 1:05 gave the Bucks a 49-30 advantage. Harris hit a layup off the transition for a 53-30 lead at 6:39.

“We talked about the fact we needed to not take quick shots with no chance for offensive rebounds and let them fast break,” said Lake City coach Dale Eising. “If they get out in transition they’re really good.”

Fulks passed to McDonald for a reverse side layup and 58-33 lead at 4:50. McDonald scored again moments later for a 62-33 lead.

“We needed more ball movement,” Eising said. “We were coming down making one pass and a shot with no chance for an offensive rebound.”

Marion led Lake City with 20 points. The Trojans fell to 10-8 overall and 6-6 in the league.

Hoaglund and Vanderhoof had nine points apiece for the Bucks.

Vanderhoof also had 13 rebounds and five steals while McDonald added seven and Nelson had five. McDonald had five assists and five steals. Fulks added five assists and Hoaglund had four.

“I was happy for our seniors,” said Goodenow. “They all started and gave us great minutes, especially Schroeder Vanderhoof. He dominated the boards against guys three to four inches taller than he.”

The regular season ends Thursday at Beal City for Pine River.