The two teams were locked in a two-point game after the first eight minutes of action. Douglas led 8-6 at the conclusion of the first quarter. The second quarter wasn't so close. The host Tigers outscored the Cougars 17-4 in the period and cruised into halftime with a 25-10 advantage.
"I think we might've gotten a little tired," first-year Cougars coach Art Cardenas said. "I think we got a little worn down and then we relaxed a little bit on defense. We got beat down on the court and then they started hitting shots and got a little momentum."
Spanish Springs managed to slow the bleeding after halftime. Douglas won the third quarter 10-8 and extended its edge to 35-18 going into the final period.
The Tigers poured it on from there, limiting the SSHS crew to just two points in the last eight minutes of play while putting up 12 more of their own.
Hannah Woytek, an all-league guard for the Cougars in their back-to-back 20-win seasons the past two years, was the lone Spanish Springs player to finish in double figures in the scoring column. She accounted for more than half of the local school's offense, finishing with 11 points.
Jessie Jim led the Douglas offense, contributed 14 points to the winning cause. Leonna Mortimer 13.
The opening-night loss was just the second in the 13-year history of the SHS girls hoops program. The other was a 55-52 triple overtime loss to South Tahoe to begin the 2009-10 campaign.
"Our execution has got to get better," Cardenas said. "We had some set plays but we were not on the same page. It's going to take more work. We've got a new system and a whole new playbook with a new coach. It's going to take time to learn everything and get on the same page. It's going to take time to get the system implemented.
"I wish we had a couple days of practice but we have to get right back on the court over the next few days and keep at it."
Spanish Springs will play four more games in the next three days as it hosts its annual Winter Challenge. The Cougars tip off their event Thursday at 4:30 p.m. against Lassen.
In the boys game, Douglas captured a 61-51 Opening Night triumph over its visiting rival from Spanish Springs. The Cougars had taken two of the last three meetings from the Tigers, including a dramatic win two years ago at Douglas when the SSHS cagers threw in a half-court shot at the buzzer to steal an upset victory.
Spanish Springs could not keep it quite that tight on Wednesday. The Cougars trimmed the DHS advantage to five, 55-50, with a minute remaining. Unfortunately for Spanish Springs fans, their club was forced to play the 'foul-and-pray game' from that point on and Douglas extended its edge by knocking down free throws.
The charity stripe was a key difference in the game. Douglas buried 18-of-23 shots from the foul line while Spanish Spring managed to convert just 11-of-22.
Douglas led 13-12 after the first period, but Spanish Springs rallied to go up 29-22 with 2:30 left before halftime. The hosts ripped off a 7-0 spurt to end the second quarter, accounting for a 29-29 halftime deadlock.
Douglas grabbed a 44-39 lead after three quarters and held on for the home win in the DI North crossover league clash.
Spanish Springs' Kenny Meyer turned in a team-high 22 points. Jake Longero added 13 for the Cougars. Austin Evans paced Douglas with 22 while the Tigers 6-foot 10-inch senior post Jim Herrick added 13 points.
Spanish Springs returns to the hardwood Thursday when it starts action in the three-day Wine Valley Classic hosted by Napa, (Calif) High School. The Cougars open against Vintage of Napa at 6:30 p.m.