MORRISTOWN - 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 coach started her career with a hard-earned 38-29 victory against the Jets.
"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 Riders turned up the defensive intensity and raced out to a 10-0 lead to set the tone when they forced the 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 and back to work to prepare for Edison."
While the Riders didn't allow the Jets to score their first points of the season until there was less than 60 seconds to go in the opening quarter, Union Local didn't come with nearly the intensity that 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 preseason."
After falling behind by the 10 points early, the Jets made several runs to claw back into it, but each time, the Riders had the answer mostly in the form of Kinney.
She netted 12 consecutive points for the 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 Jets, who struggled from the floor and from the line, never got closer than six in the final quarter. Ferry got valuable minutes off the bench from freshman Shaye DeLeonardis, who had two big buckets in the fourth and played sticky defense.
Kinney led al; scorers 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 succesful 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."
Union Local was led by junior Cori Medley's nine points. Mikayla Patton added eight.
"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.