Early on, it certainly did not look like Spanish Springs would breeze. The Cougars found themselves staring at a 10-5 deficit after the first eight minutes of play. Luckily for the hosts, an improved defensive effort set the tone for the remainder of the game. Wooster managed just 13 more points in the last three quarters.
"We started off slow," first-year Spanish Springs coach Art Cardenas said. "We didn't shoot the ball well early, but then our defense keyed our momentum swing. We started getting some steals and easy shots. Then more stuff started falling for us."
Spanish Springs awakened in the second period and outscored the Colts 19-7 en route to taking a 24-17 advantage into the locker room at the break. The Cougars had the momentum at that point but took firm control of the contest by outscoring their guests 19-5 in the third period.
The third-quarter outburst was a balanced one for Spanish Springs as seven different Cougars players scored in the period, but no single one had more than four points in the eight-minute stretch. Spanish Springs wound up pushing its lead to 43-22 by the end of the third quarter.
The SSHS crew did not let up, outscoring Wooster 10-2 in the final quarter.
"We have small guards, but they are quick and do a good job staying in front of the ball," Cardenas said. "We haven't worked that hard on our full-court press. We've just used it to wear people out. Now, we'll start working more on positioning and that will help even more."
Junior forward Katrina Prendergast led the Spanish Springs offense with a game-high 14 points, finishing a perfect 7-of-7 from the field. The Cougars also got a solid all-around performance from their all-league point guard, Hannah Woytek. The talented senior scored 10 points, dished out six assists and grabbed five rebounds to go along with a trio of steals.
"We're getting better every day," said Woytek, who is playing with a largely inexperienced roster after starting for back-to-back 20-win Cougar teams the past two seasons. "We're starting to click with each other and we're reading each other better. Our confidence is getting better. We're just getting used to being a varsity team."
Wooster (0-1) saw just three players even score Tuesday.
Spanish Springs, which played six games in a span of eight days to tip off its winter campaign, will now get a little down time. The Cougars (5-1) do not play again until Dec. 19, when they face High Desert League foe North Valleys at 5:15 p.m.