LEROY\u00a0\u2014 Pine River enters this season as the defending Highland Cofnerence girls basketball champions and the Bucks appear poised to make another run. The season starts at Reed City on Nov. 29. The Bucks were scheduled to have two scrimmages this week. Bucks\u2019 coach Shawn Ruppert anticipates around 12 players on the varsity \u00a0and 10 on the JVs. \u201cWe\u2019re conditioning and getting there that way,\u201d Ruppert said. \u201cI feel that we have to work more on the transition game and getting back, and just being more aggressive. That will come.\u201d The Bucks only lost three regular season games including the first two to Reed City and Morley Stanwood. Pine River was 16-3 during the regular season and 17-4 overall. Key returnees include cousins Julie and Kierra Justin, KayLee Goodman, Anna Lindquist, Logan Powell, Selma Barnett and Alexis Bennett. Juile Justin \u201cis our quarterback on the floor,\u201d Ruppert said. \u201cShe really came on the end of last year. I\u2019m hoping she picks up where she left off.\u201d Ruppert expects McBain, NMC and Manton to provide tough competition in the league. McBain edged Pine River in the district finals.