SPORTS NEWS IN BRIEF

Pine River girls

BIG RAPIDS — Classes were dismissed recently for area students to start summer vacation.

But that doesn’t mean athletes are taking much time off during the summer.

This includes local girls basketball players who have been playing in local gymnasiums despite the warm weather to start the preparation process for the 2016-2017 season.

Thursday night, Crossroads Charter Academy hosted Morley Stanwood and Pine River varsity teams in various scrimmages. Each team played the other two in a regular game with referees. No official scores were recorded.

Pine River is returning most of its players from last season, including cousins Kierra Justin and Julie Justin.

“I thought we did pretty good,” Kierra Justin said, adding the focus, “is getting stronger as team. We have some more scrimmages and then team camp.”

Veteran coach Shawn Ruppert agreed the summer sessions are helpful, even with an experienced team set for his 2016-17 roster. His players will be at a July team camp at Northwood University and play several scrimmages.

“We’ve got four other nights besides that,” he said. “I’ve got a good core back so they know what they’re doing. It’s getting the other girls into it. We’ve had a good turnout every night.”

Pine River baseball honors

LEROY — Three baseball players from Pine River have earned all-league Highland Conference honors recently.

Dylan Loop, a senior outfielder for the Bucks, was on the list. He batted.333 with 32 hits in 96 at bats, two doubles, 21 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.

“He’s a greatly improved player over the past two years,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said. “He’s one of the few players that played in every game this season.”

Seniors Grant Ruppert and Matt Goodenow also were on the team. Ruppert, a pitcher, had a 7-4 record with 2.86 ERA, 56 strikeouts, and 26 walks in 79 innings of work.

“He made the most of his ability his senior year,” Shawn Ruppert said. “He’s not overpowering, but kept us in a lot of games this season.”

Goodenow, an infielder, batted .277 with 23 hits in 83 at bats, plus four doubles, one home run, 17 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.

“He played every position except for shortstop for us this season,” Shawn Ruppert said. “He was our best hitter for much of the season.”

Tristen Nelson was an honorable mention choice.