There are easier ways to start the girls basketball season than to visit two-time defending state champion Benet.
Bartlett learned Friday night that despite heavy graduation losses, the Redwings are still a very good team.
Benet led from start to finish, blowing out the Hawks in the third quarter for a 79-51 victory in the Naperville Central Tip Off Tournament.
"It was a little sloppy here and there, but I thought we were really just into it on defense, a lot of good energy," Benet senior guard Emma Lyne said. "That helped to clean things up."
Benet (2-0) scored the game's first 10 points, frustrating Bartlett with its usual stifling full-court press. Bartlett adjusted and cut the lead to 20-15 after one quarter but never could pull even.
Benet forced 12 Bartlett turnovers in the first quarter, 31 through the first three quarters. The Redwings led 71-40 after three quarters and emptied their bench to start the fourth.
"We practiced the best we could to prepare for it," Bartlett coach Dave Mello said of Benet's press. "We saw the film of their game against St. Ignatius. And obviously we played them last year and we know their style. You can't simulate it. If we could simulate it then we'd be able to run it."
Benet led by 7 late in the second quarter before pulling away to a 42-28 halftime lead, then came out in the third quarter ready to prove something.
"We just really brought the energy," Lyne said. "Coach (Joe Kilbride) told us to clean it up. No fouls, or not as many fouls. Box out, get the rebounds. We want to get more rebounds than next year."
That's one of the ways the Redwings are different this year without all-state guard Kathleen Doyle, now playing at Iowa.
"What I've told them is I think we have an opportunity to be a dominant rebounding team," said Kilbride, who played five 6-footers Friday.
Senior center Katie Jaseckas led Benet with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Junior point guard Tsimba Malonga, who sat out last season as a transfer student, scored 15, 14 of them in the third quarter while mixing in layups with 15-foot pull-up jumpers.
"She was a little upset about the first half, but I told her, keep your head up, forget about the first half," Lyne said she told Malonga. She's good about forgetting it, worry about the next play."
Freshman Brooke Schramek scored 11 points off the bench, and her senior sister, Kendal, added 10. The Redwings played without senior Ali Kramer, nursing an injured ankle.
Bartlett got 16 points from senior Sarah Jurek and 15 from junior Kayla Hare. The Hawks also suffered deep graduation losses. Six of their 11 players Friday earned their first varsity experience, and four more played limited minutes behind seniors last year.
"They're a great team," Mello said of the Redwings. "They lose Doyle, but they get Tsimba on the transfer. They're going to be there at the end, so for us to play them opening night is only going to benefit us. I said, there's no tougher test on opening night, and they played already."
Benet resumes tournament play today against Plainfield North. Bartlett continues with another big challenge against Naperville Central.
Follow Orrin on Twitter @Orrin_Schwarz