Marlborough boys basketball holds off North Middlesex to win home opener

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Marlborough boys basketball holds off North Middlesex to win home opener
Marlborough’s Alex Krueger lunches to corral a ball bouncing toward the sideline during his team’s game against North Middlesex on Tuesday. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – The Marlborough High School boys basketball team beat North Middlesex in its home opener, Tuesday, delighting fans who packed the high school gym for this game.

“It’s always good to get a win,” coach Graham Asum said.

“They made us work for it,” he added of North Middlesex.

The Panthers jumped out to a lead in the first quarter, taking a 16-12 lead over the Patriots.

A pair of second quarter three-pointers by Tony Santiago expanded Marlborough’s lead to 10 points with just a few minutes left on the clock before halftime.

North Middlesex’s offense pushed hard, though, cutting into that advantage and closing their deficit to just one point, with the score at halftime sitting at 28-27.

Asum dissected that Patriots surge in his postgame comments.

“One thing I’ve noticed is that, when one team starts to apply a little bit [of pressure], we start to struggle,” he said.

“We knew it was coming but we’ve got to do a better job,” he continued. “I’ve got to do a better job at getting us prepared for it and ready to handle that.”

As close as things came, Marlborough never surrendered its lead.

Santiago scored five more points in the third quarter, helping the Panthers put nine points between themselves and North Middlesex heading into the fourth quarter.

Initially ahead 48-37, Marlborough held off North Middlesex to win the game by a score of 66-56.

“North Middlesex is a good team,” Asum said. “I know they’ve struggled at some points in the year so far, but they battled, and our guys held our ground.”

Santiago finished with 21 points for Marlborough, leading the way among scoring contributors in this game.

Alex Krueger added 14 points while Eli Hintz came away with 15 points.

Four days after a tough 71-50 loss to Shepherd Hill, this win was good news for the Panthers, who now have one game left on their schedule in 2021 before they’re set to kick off play again on Jan. 4 against Groton Dunstable.

“To come back after a loss against Shepherd Hill, especially a 20-point loss, was huge,” Asum said. “It shows the dedication of these guys and that these guys are ready to battle. I think they’re going to continue to battle from here on forward.”

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