A strong first quarter proved to be enough for the Bethlehem girls basketball team.
The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 16-7 lead on their way to a 42-30 victory over Guilderland in Friday's Suburban Council season opener in Guilderland.
"Always happy to win the first game. It's the best way to start a season," said Bethlehem coach Matt Bixby.
Guilderland limited Gabby Giacone -- Bethlehem's leading scorer last season -- to seven points, but Jenna Giacone scored 16 points to prevent the Lady Dutch from pulling off the upset.
"Guilderland is a pretty decent team," said Bixby. "They're big and physical, and they played us tough."
Caitlin Corbett had 11 points, and Zibby Eckhardt added eight points for Guilderland, but Bethlehem's defense shut down the rest of the Lady Dutch.
"We were intense on defense," said Bixby. "We rebounded pretty well -- not as well as we can, but pretty well."
Bixby said Bethlehem will have to get used to seeing the kind of effort Guilderland gave throughout the rest of the season, as the Lady Eagles are considered to be the favorite to win the Suburban Council South Division again and a potential Section II Class AA champion.
"I think we certainly have a target on our backs," said Bixby, who has four starters back from last year's team that reached the Sectional finals. "The thing about having the target on our backs is the only way to lose that target is to lose some games, and we're not interested in doing that. We want the target to stay on our backs."
Bethlehem and Guilderland return to action Tuesday. Bethlehem hosts Mohonasen at 5:30 p.m. as part of a doubleheader with the boys team, while Guilderland travels to East Greenbush to meet Columbia.
Voorheesville also started its season with a victory, as the Lady Blackbirds defeated Colonial Council rival Cobleskill-Richmondville 46-36 Thursday. Voorheesville outscored Cobleskill 26-2 in the third quarter to rally from a 24-11 halftime deficit.
Rachel Bogdany netted 13 points, Katina Wallace contributed 12 points and Victoria Coluccio added 11 points for the Lady Blackbirds. Danielle Rappelyea's 14 points paced the Lady Bulldogs.
Voorheesville hosts Albany Academy for Girls Tuesday.
Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk lost its Colonial Council opener to Ichabod Crane 52-46 in overtime Friday. Hope Rebeor had 13 points for the Lady Indians, while Paige Niemeyer netted 15 points for the Riders.
Ravena hosts Lansingburgh Tuesday.