LEROY — Mason Powell hopes to continue to give key contributions for the Pine River Bucks in the backcourt as the boys basketball season progresses into its final weeks.

Powell, a sophomore in his first varsity season, has been getting some starting time and playing a key role for the Bucks.

“Trying not to come out flat,” is what Powell said was the goal in a recent win over Evart. “In the second half, we again tried not to come out flat, but came out hard and picked up the defensive intensity because that’s what we thrive off of. Our defense is our best offense.”

The Bucks had a winning streak going until a recent loss to Manton. Defense was the key behind the streak, Powell agreed.

“We picked up our defense then we got out of our shooting slump,” he said. “We’re attacking the boards a little bit because we’re so always overmanned. Boxing out is a key for us.”

Powell scored in double points against Evart and has had good production in other games.

“I’m distributing the ball and trying to slow down the game, get people open looks and if I get a good look, take the open shot,” he said. “I feel very good about the way I’ve been playing. You always want to do better. But I feel good.”

The Bucks are home with Marion on Friday night and are trying to get ready for districts. Powell wants to be playing his best basketball at that time.

“My shooting and working on my body language on the court,” is what Powell says he’s working to improve on. “If I let my self get into my head, then I’m done.”

The Bucks are 12-3 overall and 6-3 in the Highland after Friday’s 77-58 win on the road against arch-rival McBain.

“I think we can keep getting better,” Powell said. “We’re progressing and we’ll peak at the right time come districts. We’re getting better as the districts go.”