First it was bad.

Then it got worse.

Now, Northern Lehigh head coach Jeff Miller hopes it will be forgotten.

The Bulldogs fell behind early against visiting Notre Dame Friday night, and the deficit only continued to swell after that as the Crusaders cruised to an easy 81-48 Colonial League victory.

"We don't have a choice, we have to forget about this since we play again right away," said Miller. "Once things snowballed, it got away from us.

"They're a tough matchup. Their defensive transition is the key and we struggle at times at the other end."

To say the Bulldogs struggled at the outset would be a gross understatement.

Then again, Notre Dame's hot shooting didn't help matters.

The Crusaders (8-4; 5-2) hit on seven shots in their first 10 possessions to build a 16-4 advantage. Connor Hughes, who finished with a game-high 19 points, had five points during that stretch.

"I was really happy. I thought we were focused from the opening tip," said Notre Dame mentor Pat Boyle. "I thought the first half was as complete a half as we've played at both ends.

"We were really balanced offensively and we made the extra pass and got everybody involved."

Nolehi's frontcourt was also involved in the opening frame. The Bulldogs' big men had eight offensive rebounds in the first quarter, but unfortunately for Miller and his team the boards didn't always translate into points.

"Early on we did a good job on the offensive boards," said Miller, whose team dropped to 7-3 overall and 4-3 in the league. "We just didn't convert on them.

"Year in and year out Pat always has them playing well. And this year the South Division is a battle every night. We're young and still learning."

Speaking of young, the Crusaders boast one of the best freshmen in the area in Tyler Kohl. The 6-4 center didn't give the Bulldogs a chance to get back in the game as his 10 second-quarter points helped his team extend the margin to 39-17 at the break.

"We didn't rush shots tonight," said Boyle. "We worked harder at getting good looks and we knocked down shots.

"Conner (Reed) also accepted the challenge of guarding (Jordan) Waylen and containing him and that was important for us too."

Kohl finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. For the hosts, Lucas Pierce tallied 12 points and collected seven boards.

In the JV game, Tyler Dibilio's 22 points helped Northern Lehigh gain a 65-51 victory.

NOTRE DAME

N. Miller 3-4-4-10, Conway 1-0-0-2, Huerta 2-6-8-12, Duffy 0-1-2-1, Reed 2-1-2-6, Baurkot 0-0-0-0, Caro 1-0-0-2, Scott 0-0-0-0, Barr 1-0-0-2, Myers 0-0-0-0, Ambielli 2-2-4-6, Kohl 6-1-1-15, Ross 2-0-0-4, Hughes 8-2-2-19, Corsello 0-0-0-0, J. Miller 0-0-0-0, Fernandez 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 29-17-23-81.

NORTHERN LEHIGH

George 0-2-2-2, Dibilio 0-0-0-0, Pristash 0-0-0-0, Glose 2-0-2-4, Waylen 2-1-2-5, Malaska 1-0-0-3, Rankin 2-3-5-7, Hofmann 0-0-0-0, Middaugh 1-2-4-4, Landsberger 1-5-5-7, Johnson 2-0-0-4, Pierce 5-2-2-12, Egan 0-0-0-0, Shupp 0-0-0-0, Eden 0-0-0-0, Budhoo 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-15-22-48.

Notre Dame 21 18 26 16 - 81

No. Lehigh 8 9 17 14 - 48

Three-pointers: Notre Dame - Huerta 2, Kohl 2, Reed 1, Hughes 1; Northern Lehigh - Malaska 1.