Pine River claims district title

MAKING A MOVE: Pine River’s Mason Powell (20) looks to make a play during Saturday’s district championship game against Lakeview. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

MAKING A MOVE: Pine River’s Mason Powell (20) looks to make a play during Saturday’s district championship game against Lakeview. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

MORLEY — After a contested first half, the Pine River boys basketball team pulled away for a 50-33 win over Lakeview to claim a Class C district championship Saturday at Morley Stanwood High School.

The win gives Pine River its first district championship in four seasons.

“I’m obviously very pleased,” Bucks coach Brian Goodenow said. “It’s a great feeling, great for our kids. A lot of these guys won districts in football, so it’s been a great season for them.”

Mason Powell led the Bucks with 16 points and Tristen Nelson scored 13, 11 of which came in the second half. Trenton Holmes had 10 points and Hunter Esiline added seven.

“It’s awesome,” Powell said. “To win this game was a tremendous feeling.”

The Bucks had Powell defend talented Lakeview junior Keola Kaaikala. Kaaikala had a height and length advantage over Powell that he exploited early with jump shots and defensively with blocked shots.

But Powell’s defensive tenacity and quickness took Kaaikala out of the flow of the game, forcing him into tough shots and turnovers. He finished with 14 points and was the only Wildcat to score in double figures.

“He’s a tough ball player,” Powell said. “A lot of their stuff runs through him. He got the better of me a few times, but I just tried to shut him down.

“My teammates did a great job hedging. By hedging, talking on defense and crashing the boards, we got it done.”

The game started with the Wildcats and Bucks trading baskets in the first quarter. The Bucks held an 11-9 edge through one quarter of play.

In the second quarter, Powell and the Bucks were able to increase the lead by knocking down free throws and scoring points off turnovers. Pine River outscored Lakeview 14-7 in the second to take a 25-16 into halftime.

It was the Tristen Nelson show in the third quarter. He scored eight of the team’s 10 third-quarter points, including two 3-pointers that swung the momentum in Pine River’s favor. The Bucks took a 35-21 lead into the fourth quarter, where they continued their aggressive play.

“Tristen played a heck of a game,” Powell said. “He shot the ball tremendously, and that’s how it should be. Senior year on the biggest stage of the game, and he was able to perform.

“It was awesome.”

The Bucks continued attacking the basket in the fourth and drew three consecutive fouls to start the quarter, which put the Wildcats in the penalty.

The Wildcats were unable to get much going offensively and the Bucks managed to push the lead to as many as 20 points before winning by 17.

“At the end of the first quarter, we thought we could build a lead,” Goodenow said. “We were shooting for a 15-point lead at halftime, which we would have had if it weren’t for a few defensive mistakes. Once we got it to 15 in the third, we knew we had to get it to 20.”

The Pine River community is used to winning this season, adding a district basketball championship to the district and regional championships the football team earned in the fall.

“Even though most of these guys were a part of that district football team, basketball is a different animal,” Goodenow said. “The feeling of the gym is definitely different and it’s special in its own way.”

With the win in hand, Pine River will face Beaverton in Class C regional semifinal action at 7 p.m. Monday at Morley Stanwood High School.

The Beavers are coached by the legendary Roy Johnston, the state-record holder for most all-time wins by a head basketball coach with 736.

“We’ve got a really quick turnaround,” Goodenow said. “We have scrimmaged against Beaverton in the preseason. I tell my guys we aren’t going to win because I’m going to outcoach that coach.

“If we’re going to win, it’s going to be because you’re going to out-prepare and out-play their players. That’s where our focus will be.”

Leave a Reply