She may be one of the smallest players on the floor.

But in Friday night's Colonial League showdown, her performance was huge.

Northern Lehigh's Tina Bastardi came up with her biggest effort of the season in one of her team's biggest games of the season. The 5-1 guard not only scored a game-high 19 points but she added outstanding defense and tremendous hustle in leading the undefeated Bulldogs to a 53-38 victory over Southern Lehigh.

"She just had a fantastic game," said Nolehi head coach Dave Oertner, whose team improved to 15-0 overall and 10-0 in the league. "Last year as a freshman, Tina was out of control at times. This year she's had some games where she's shown that again but tonight she played a really smart game.

"She had some nice steals on defense, got her layups on fastbreaks, and hit a bunch of jumpshots. That was her best game of the year. Her decision-making is also getting better. She's starting to better understand how to play the game and what a point guard's job is."

The sophomore poured in 11 points during the first half to help her team gain a 28-21 advantage.

After teammate Sonya Josephson (17 points) opened the third quarter with a three-pointer to give Nolehi its first double-digit lead, Bastardi came up with a steal and layup to widen the margin.

"I was feeling it better than I usually do," said Bastardi, who shot 9-of-12 from the floor and added four rebounds. "When I saw an opening I took the shot ... We wanted this game. Southern Lehigh's a good team and beating them just boosts our condfidence."

"She hurt us," said Spartan mentor Megan Dellegrotti. "You have to give her credit. She stepped up tonight. They needed someone else to step up. We had the big girls under control. She carried them. She made big shots, and it was a big win for them. We'll just have to learn from it and move forward."

The Bulldogs learned a thing or two at the break.

Southern Lehigh (13-3; 8-2) managed to stay close in the opening frames by getting to the basket. The Spartans' penetration was something Coach Oertner talked about at intermission.

"They just drove right down the middle on us in the first half, especially early in the game," said Oertner. "We said at halftime we needed to do a better job of controlling their penetration. When teams penetrate, you get in trouble. We stopped that and that was the biggest difference in the game."

"That was our game plan, take it to the basket," said Dellegrotti. "We did exactly what we wanted to do early but then they made a run. We lost our composure and dug ourselves a hole that we couldn't get out of. To their credit, they kept hitting shots."

The Bulldogs, despite 21 turnovers, ended up with a 21-of-35 performance from the floor. Besides Bastardi and Josephson, Aimee Oertner chipped in with nine points and a game-high nine rebounds.

"In the scheme of things, it really wasn't a big game," said Coach Oertner. "More than likely, both of us will be in the league playoffs. In that regard, it's not that big of a deal. But in regards to the next time we see them, for confidence-sake, it is a big deal for our kids. To know we can go out there and play on a bigger stage and come through when we have to is good for their character."

In the JV game, Southern Lehigh gained a 34-28 victory.

SOUTHERN LEHIGH

Dimou 1-1-2-4, Nemeth 0-0-0-0, Sullivan 0-0-0-0, Cerciello 1-0-0-2, Arnold 1-0-0-3, Dougherty 6-6-6-18, Grammer 3-2-4-8, Ozanne 1-1-2-3, Doell 0-0-0-0, Reichl 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 13-10-14-38.

NORTHERN LEHIGH

LeVan 1-2-2-4, Bastardi 9-1-1-19, L. Oertner 1-0-1-2, Josephson 6-3-4-17, A. Oertner 3-3-6-9, Howell 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 21-9-14-53.

So. Lehigh 11 10 7 10 - 38

No. Lehigh 14 14 10 15 - 53

Three-pointers: So. Lehigh - Dimou 1, Arnold 1; No. Lehigh - Josephson 2.