LEROY\u00a0\u2014 Paige Esiline will be among the key players Pine River girls basketball coach Shawn Ruppert will be counting upon to make key contributions this season. A senior, Esiline is in her second varsity season. She usually came off the bench for a district championship Bucks team last winter. Rebounding and defense were her main roles last season. As for this season, her role will be \u201cmostly a little bit of everything,\u201d Esiline said. She also plays volleyball and softball, but Esiline got plenty of basketball also during the offseason. \u201cI\u2019ve been working on my shot, mainly,\u201d she said. \u201cMainly it will be inside, probably some outside too.\u201d Esiline indicated defense is her strongest asset as a player. Last week during practice, \u201cour focus is always that our speed is the advantage we have over most teams,\u201d she said. \u201cWe\u2019ve been working on that.\u201d The Bucks lost some key seniors from last year. \u201cWe\u2019re pretty young but we have some experience too,\u201d Esiline said. \u201cWe\u2019re going to be quick again.\u201d She\u2019s looking for the Bucks to be Highland Conference contenders again. Beal City and McBain are expected to be among the top league contenders. Pine River opens the season with non-league home games Dec. 3 with Reed City and Dec. 6 with Morley Stanwood. They play at Manton Dec. 10 and home with McBain Dec. 13 in their Highland Conference openers. \u201cWe won\u2019t have a lot of height so getting rebounds and shots back up\u201d will be critical against Pine River\u2019s opponents, Esiline said.