FITCHBURG — North Middlesex had a full bench for the first time since its season opener against Leominster, and its depth prevailed against the five from Oakmont Regional.
North Middlesex coasted to 6-4 on the regular season with a 78-30 win over the Spartans.
North Middlesex senior Drew Patno led the Patriots with a team-high 14 points.
“Our defense was really on its game today,” Patno said.
“Our starting five only allowed two points in the limited minutes we were in the game. When we have that starting group on the floor, we are pretty tough to beat.”
North Middlesex opened the game on a 21-5 run. It didn’t allow a single Oakmont basket until midway through the first half. Oakmont’s Justin Streeter hit a lay-up and a three-pointer in succession to end the Spartan scoring drought.
Patriot guard Nate Sullivan drove the length of the floor for a stellar finish at the basket to push North Middlesex’s lead to 17 points with eight minutes remaining in the half.
Oakmont cut the Patriot lead to 13 points on back-to-back baskets.
Three-minutes later, Streeter deposited his second three-pointer of the game from the left elbow to cut the lead to its smallest margin of 13 points, 25-12.
North Middlesex continued to grow its lead to as much as 26 points in the first half, following a one-handed transition slam by junior Richie Sharp, which made it 41-15.
North Middlesex center John Boutwell (10 points, 7 rebounds) hit a lay-up as time expired to give the Patriots a 45-14 lead.
The Patriots ended the half on a 11-0 run behind a well-balanced attack from Sullivan, Sharp (11 points) and Patno.
North Middlesex newcomer Nijal Hamburg (11 points, 4 rebounds), a transfer from the Winchendon school, showcased his pure release in the first half with a triad of three-pointers.
North Middlesex’s lead swelled to 45 points, before Oakmont mercifully called a time-out to regroup.
In that sequence, Sharp had some quality assists to Hamburg and Boutwell.
The Patriots cleared their bench in the second half, allowing its reserves to put in some quality minutes.
Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout: @EdNiser.