Bucks roll over Sabres in lopsided victory

Pine River uses attacking defense to cruise past Traverse City Christian on Thursday

LEROY— The Pine River Bucks came into the 2014-15 boys basketball season with two key words: attack and swarm. They showed exactly what those words mean on Thursday night in a 72-42 victory over Traverse City Christian in the Bucks’ home opener.

IN POSITION: Traverse City Christian’s Mitchell Larkins (left) and Pine River’s Lucas Harris (right) battle for position under the basket on Thursday. (Pioneer photo/Danie Pavloski)

IN POSITION: Traverse City Christian’s Mitchell Larkins (left) and Pine River’s Lucas Harris (right) battle for position under the basket on Thursday. (Pioneer photo/Danie Pavloski)

“Our two key words going into the season were attack and swarm,” Pine River coach Brian Goodenow said. “Attacking the boards and swarming to the ball on defense. That means you have to play really good help defense and you’re going to get beat once in a while, but we’re usually quick enough to be able to recover. We try to be in their face on defense.”

Mitchell McDonald lit up the scoreboard in the opening quarter, knocking down 3-pointers to start and close the first quarter as Pine River’s defense led to a 24-9 advantage heading into the second frame.

Brandon Fulks had two steals to spark the Bucks to a 5-0 run to open the second quarter before McDonald closed the half with another triple, putting his first-half total at 19 points as the Bucks took a 37-16 lead into the break.

“The ball was going in the hole. I don’t think I’ve had a half like that ever,” McDonald said. “I feel like my team needed me to score and when I score it opens up everyone else…The team moved well and the team was getting me the ball and I was knocking down my shots.”

After scoring just 13 in the second quarter, the Bucks bounced back in the third on triples from Fulks, Greg Park and Tyler Wing. Pine River brought in the fresh-legged reserves and pushed the lead to 57-24 heading into the fourth quarter, beating the Sabres 20-8 in the third frame.

“The game kind of slowed down for some reason,” Goodenow said. “It wasn’t the tempo we liked, so we switched up the lineup a little bit and went with some of the younger kids who are really good at our pressure defense and that kind of turned the tempo back.”

The lead hovered around 30 points for the entire closing quarter as the Bucks cruised to the 72-42 nonconference win.

McDonald led the Bucks with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists while Park chipped in 13 and Fulks added 12 points, five assists and six steals.

“It’s always great and fun to get the first home win, especially by a large amount,” McDonald said. “It excites the community…Our ultimate goal is to put some numbers up on the conference (banner) and put some district numbers up there too.”

The Bucks (2-0) play again on Monday at home against Chippewa Hills in nonconference action.

Leave a Reply