Pine River boys denied chance to play for district title
LEROY -- Members of the 2019-20 Pine River boys' basketball team will forever look back to this season and wonder what might have been.
Upon the swift cancellation of the remainder of the MHSAA postseason last month, the Bucks were on the doorstep of a district title and potentially even more.
It would have been a turnaround the PR boys could have hung their hats on after a 6-14 record during the regular season, but ultimately the universe had a different plan in mind.
Coached by Brian Goodenow in his eighth season, Pine River was scheduled to play Shelby in the District 72 championship game on March 13 after victories over Mason County Central and Hesperia in the first two rounds of the tournament.
"As I told the boys when the season was suspended, my disappointments with this group were only on the scoreboard," Goodenow said. "They are a wonderful group of young men, and it was a privilege to work with them every day in practice, as well as games."
During the regular season, the Bucks struggled to gain consistency and finished their campaign one step away from the basement of the Highland Conference with a 4-12 league record.
"With a strong returning group, we felt we might contend for the conference title," Goodenow said.
Even though the team had its season cut short as the Bucks began to hit their collective stride, next season still has the potential to be an improvement for the PR boys.
Pine River loses five seniors from this year's roster, including a trio of three-year varsity players in Lane Ruppert, Marcus Jurik, and Sasha Huffman. Fellow seniors Brian Fauble and Garrett Sumpter will also be missing from next year's team.
Despite this, the Bucks will still return a core of seven players to the team, with Goodenow adding that his team's "future is bright."