Powell off to promising start at Pine River

LEROY — Mason Powell knows what it’s like to play varsity as a sophomore.

He’s already achieved the trick as quarterback during the football season. Now he’s trying to do it during the basketball season. During the summer, Powell had a hunch he might be moved up to the varsity as a sophomore to start the basketball season.

“I played with them at camps and got moved up for district at the end of last year,” Powell said. “Coach gave me the thumbs up at the beginning of the season that it was for sure.”

Pine River is off to a 3-0 start. Powell has started one game and came off the bench — normally in the first quarter.

“It’s been going pretty good,” he said. “I feel pretty comfortable because I got to play football with all these guys. The chemistry is pretty good.”

Powell’s role has usually been wing guard.

“I bring the ball up once in awhile when Mitchell’s not in,” he said, referring to Pine River senior point guard Mitch McDonald. “I do anything I can do, anything to contribute, try to use my speed, cause  a couple of turnovers, get a couple of buckets here and there.”

So far, so good.

“I think I’ve been playing all right,” Powell said. “It’s definitely to my highest potential. You still get those first varsity nerves.”

Powell added that he tries to use his “quick feet” to “beat people off the dribble pretty quick.”

But he’s looking at improving his jump shot inside the arc.

The Bucks resume action Jan. 6 at Manton in Highland Conference play. They’ve had wins over non-league foes Harrison, Traverse City Christian and Chippewa Hills.

“We have good potential,” Powell said. “We’re really fast and it’s hard to keep up with us. We should have a good season. We’re looking all right.”

Playing strong defense and cutting down on turnovers will be critical, he added.

“We push the temp so when you push the tempo, it’s hard not to have turnovers,” Powell said. “But we try to limit them.”