Baldwin Ted Zuzzio's halftime talk with his Baldwin High girls basketball team on Thursday night lasted four minutes.
There wasn't much the Bulldog coach could say to his team, ranked third in the Class 4A coaches' poll. After all, Baldwin led Spring Hill 44-16 at halftime after shooting 56 percent from the field. The Bulldogs remained relentless in the second half to win their opener, 72-30.
"We needed to start strong at the beginning," said Baldwin's 6-foot-1 center Mary Denning, who scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the first quarter. "We can't overlook anybody."
Baldwin dominated from the opening tip, won by Denning and resulting in a fast-break lay-in by junior point guard Ann Martin four seconds into the contest. Nine seconds later, Martin stole the ball from Spring Hill for another easy lay-in.
By the end of the first quarter, Baldwin built a 30-8 lead on 14-of-19 shooting from the field while its pressure defense forced nine Spring Hill turnovers.
"We've got big kids who can run and dribble," Zuzzio said. "We have a little depth and we have some quality."
Zuzzio used 13 players and eight of them scored. No Baldwin starters played in the final quarter.
When Denning wasn't scoring inside, Martin, Trina Bierman, Dina Dillon and Johnelle Nuspl popped from the perimeter.
Martin finished with 12 points, Bierman with 11 and Dillon with 10.
"It's really exciting with the depth we have," said Martin, who was 2-for-3 from three-point range. "I feel real comfortable with my shot."
Early in the second half, Baldwin junior forward Audrey Millstein sustained an injury to her left ankle. Millstein, the team's leading scorer last year (15.4 ppg), had nine points and 12 rebounds before limping off the court with 7:14 left in the third quarter. She sat on the bench the rest of the game.
"She's a tough one," Zuzzio said. "We didn't need that to happen. If she's still in pain tomorrow (today), we're going to get it X-rayed."
Baldwin's next game is Monday at 3:15 p.m. against Girard in the first round of the Iola tournament.
In the junior varsity contest, Baldwin rolled to a 35-11 victory.