Pine River girls basketball falls just short against Manton

LEROY — Pine River girls basketball came close to pulling off a strong comeback victory over Manton, falling 37-34 on Thursday night.

"We competed all night long. Our effort, our heart and our soul was left on the floor," Bucks coach Steffen Halvorsen said. "I've got girls that their legs are giving up tonight. So I don't doubt anybody's effort. Manton is a pretty good team and it's a bummer that they lost a (key player) to a knee injury, but they had some girls step up. So it was a fun game."

It was a tight defensive battle throughout the evening with Manton (3-4) going into halftime with a 16-13 lead. The Rangers led by as much as eight in the third quarter before Pine River clawed back in the fourth, with the game sitting at 30-30 with five minutes left. Manton was able to pull ahead and stay ahead until the final whistle.

"We've been working on our help defense and turnovers," Halvorsen said. "What we practiced came through tonight so I was really proud of the way that we rotated, the way that we were communicating. They got some second chance opportunities on us that really cost us the game."

Emma Tice led the Bucks (1-6) in scoring with 11 points. Taylor Stewart scored nine points while Aubrey Lewis added five.

"I thought we played really good as a team," Tice said. "I thought this was the first game that we really like showed up."

Offensively the Bucks struggled at points from the 3-point line, shooting 16 percent.

"All of the shots we took with the right shots to take," Halvorsen said. "So on the night where we shoot 16 percent from behind the line, it's hard to beat a team with that so we've been putting in the work. It will come through."

Up next for the Bucks will be Tri County, who rescheduled their December match-up after TC came down with an illness. The game is at Pine River on Monday.

"Our biggest thing so far has been coming together as a team in the past two weeks like we did over Christmas break," Halvorsen said. "It was really good for us and it really gelled as a unit so now the next step is being able to push each other competitively in practice to help each other improve."