LEROY — Haley Raymond had one of the best quarters of her whole life in Tuesday’s (Jan. 24) 50-40 loss for Pine River against Manton.

The Pine River junior scored 13 points overall and had eight in the third quarter.

But considering the team lost and struggled offensively at times, Raymond is hoping to keep improving and helping her team post more key wins.

“I saw that my team was struggling offensively so I figured I had to take the initiative,” she said after the Manton game.

“She had a decent night,” said Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert. “We all kind of disappeared in the fourth and turned over it over a lot. We missed too many open shots.”

It’s Raymond’s second year on the varsity.

“I’ve improved quite a bit,” she said. “Being on varsity as a sophomore helped me out too. I learned a lot. I think I’m a lot more confident now. Last year, I wouldn’t shoot the ball as much. But now, I’m more confident in everything I do.”

She added that defense has usually been her main role.

“I’m out there trying to make my stand as an offensive player as well,” Raymond said. “I’m trying to become a guard and maybe shoot more threes. In all my past years, I’ve been more of a post player.”

Pine River is 8-5 overall and lost to Highland Conference first-place power McBain on Friday 56-50. Kassey Nelson scored 17 points and had four rebounds while Jamie Justin added 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.

“I think our team is a lot different than it’s been in past years. We’re coming together as a team really well. We can only get better from here,” Raymond said. “We’re not very tall. We have to get out there and learn how to play on offense together. We have to learn how to read each other on defense.”

Manton senior Emily Bever scored 14 points in the first half and ended with 21 points overall in her team’s victory over Pine River on Jan. 24.

The battle was for second place in the Highland Conference behind leader McBain. Pine River is 5-3 in the league and 8-5 overall.

Justin netted 16 points for the Bucks, who had extreme problems getting easy shots to fall at critical times.

“It was frustrating when you can’t make wide open layups,” said Ruppert. “In the first half, we probably had 20 points that we missed on layups. It deflates your effort. But in the third quarter, we came out better.”