Coaches and players must always be glad to get that first game out of the way.

For the Crowder Lady Roughriders, they opened a new season with a 65-40 win Wednesday night over the Missouri Valley JV at Bob Sneller Gymnasium.

It sure did resemble a season opener, but the Lady ‘Riders showed signs of potential success this season, like when they outscored the Missouri Valley JV 17-2 in the second quarter and gained a 34-point lead late in the third quarter.

Missouri Valley JV outscored Crowder 11-8 in a sloppy fourth quarter where the 10 minutes probably did not go by fast enough for Crowder’s veteran head coach.

“Obviously, first game of the season, there’s always jitters and nerves,” Crowder head coach Tina Wilson said. “Of course, when you play at home that adds to it because you want to do well in front of your hometown crowd. I was pleased with about three quarters of the game. Fourth quarter, I didn’t feel like we played well. We turned it over too much in the fourth quarter and we got outscored 11-8.

“First three quarters, I thought we played well. I thought we did a good job defensively. I thought we did a good job moving the basketball, sharing the basketball. Maybe all but one person (on Crowder’s 13-player roster) scored in the game.

“One thing we’ve got to work on is adjusting to the hand-check call. Obviously, we had a lot of calls that we were hands on. It’s one of the new emphasis that you can’t have hands on and they’re going to call it, early in the season for sure. We’re going to have make that adjustment, because we had too many hands on calls … nobody’s driving to the basket, just silly fouls I thought.”

Early on, Crowder and the Missouri Valley JV exchanged the lead a couple times and the Lady ‘Riders first distanced themselves from their opening night opponent with a 9-4 run in the last 1 minute, 39 seconds of the first quarter to go into the second ahead 20-12. Sophomore guard Tori Coulter provided an instant spark with six consecutive points and freshman Elle Williams — former West Plains standout — added the other three points on an old-fashioned three-point play.

Then, the Lady ‘Riders outscored the Missouri Valley JV 17-2 in the second quarter and started the second half with the first eight points for a 31-point lead.

Crowder looked sharpest for most of the middle quarters.

“In the first half, I think they scored all their points from 3s or the free throw line,” Wilson said. “We did some nice things. It’s the first game and glad to get that one under our belt. Hopefully, it will give us some confidence, because we’ve got a tough stretch here. We have nine games in 18 days. We have two more this week and we have a three-game week next week and then a three-game week after that. Of course, our next five games are on the road before we come back home. Good to get a home win and head out on the road.”

Crowder heads to Harrison, Arkansas for weekend games against John Wood and Eastern Oklahoma, playing the former today and the latter Saturday.

The Lady ‘Riders then play Seminole State (Oklahoma) next Tuesday and make a trek to Tyler, Texas for Saturday and Sunday games against Texas colleges Lone Star and Kilgore.

Crowder returns home Nov. 14 for a game against Murray State (Oklahoma).

All told, the Lady ‘Riders are scheduled for 11 games in November.

In the season opener, Coulter and freshman Alex Vogt each led Crowder with nine points. Coley Ickes had eight points, six of which came in the first 2:04 of the third quarter, and Maegan Bandimere also added eight. Williams finished with seven in her college debut, while Michaela Mack and Morgan Crawford each had six.

Former Neosho High standout and Crowder freshman Sydney Linny played the length of the fourth quarter and scored three points, including the final two of the night.