Lindsay Coyne has been a part of a lot of basketball games in her life.
However, Tuesday evening's mutual opener at Union Local will be one she won't soon forget.
The rookie Martins Ferry head coach started her coaching career with a hard-earned, 38-29, victory against the Lady Jets in front of a large turnout in Morristown.
"That was a hard-fought win and I thought every girl played exceptionally well," Coyne said. "They did all the little things that are required to win a game like this. I just couldn't be prouder of the girls right now."
The Lady Riders turned up the defensive intensity and raced out to a 10-0 lead to set the tone when they forced the Lady Jets into nine first-quarter turnovers. On the offensive end, they utilized senior standout Jessica Kinney primarily on the low block and watched her score six points in the opening eight minutes.
"The girls really took the game plan and executed it well," Coyne said. "It's always nice to win the first one. This points us in the right direction, but we play again on Thursday, so we'll enjoy this tonight and get back to work to prepare for Edison."
While the Lady Riders didn't allow the Lady Jets to score their first points of the season until there was less than 60 seconds to go in the opening panel, the Lady Jets didn't come with nearly the intensity that head coach Drew Greenwood had expected from his veteran club.
"Overall, I thought our defense was very putrid," Greenwood said. "Whether it was on-the-ball, off-the-ball or rebounding, it just wasn't there. We rely on getting our confidence up to a certain point every year through our defense. We played flat and we were a step behind. I am going to take the blame for that, too because obviously we weren't fundamental enough or getting the reps that we needed in the pre-season."
After falling behind by the aforementioned 10 points early, the Lady Jets made several runs to claw back into it, but each time, the Lady Riders had the answer, mostly in the form of Kinney.
The area's leading scorer a season ago netted 12 consecutive points for the Lady Riders during the second quarter and into the first three minutes of the third when senior Addie Suriano dialed long distance from the right corner.
The Lady Jets, who struggled from the floor and from the line, never got closer than six in the final chapter. Ferry got valuable minutes off the bench from frosh Shaye DeLeonardis, who had two big buckets in the fourth and played sticky defense.
Kinney led al scorers in the game with 22 points. Suriano netted six in top support. Ashlei Ray only scored four points, but she controlled the glass with 11 rebounds.
"We played great team defense, which is a key element to being a successful team," Coyne said. "Our offense may not be pretty right now, but our defense was outstanding. I just can't talk enough about how this team played team ball tonight."
Union Local, which will go back to the drawing board, was led by junior Cori Medley's nine points. Mikayla Patton added eight tallies.
"Give credit to Coach Coyne and her team," Greenwood said. "It's a long season and we've got a lot of areas where we need to improve. We'll get better."
Union Local was charted for 16 turnovers, while Ferry was guilty of 17 miscues.
No reserve game was contested.
MARTINS FERRY (38) - DeLeonardis 2, 0-0 4; Kinney 10, 2-5 22; Rose 0, 2-2 2; Suriano 1, 3-4 6; M. Stalder 0, 0-0 0; Ray 2, 0-0 4; Oberdick 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 15, 7-11 38. UNION LOCAL (29) - Doty 4, 0-2 8; Montag 1, 0-0 3; Stiles 0, 1-4 1; Medley 2, 4-6 9; Collins 0, 0-0 0; Patton 4, 0-3 8; Russell 0, 0-0 0; Swallie 0, 0-0 0; Delaney 0, 0-4 0; Totals: 11, 5-19 29.
Three-Point Goals: Martins Ferry 1 (Suriano). Union Local 2 (Medley, Montag).
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org