TOWNSEND -- Two-years ago, as a sophomore, North Middlesex point guard Tyler Thomas was called up to the varsity squad for the Patriots' playoff push in 2010-2011. However, Thomas did not see any playing time for the Patriots.
"I was just kind of an extra body during the playoffs," the senior point guard said. "The workouts were a bit different because it was kind of the seniors' season -- back then, I sort of knew that I would have my chance. Now, it is kind of our season -- the seniors' season."
Tonight, North Middlesex hosts, Division 2 State Championship finalist South Hadley at the Arthur Bartlett Memorial Gymnasium. The fifth-seeded Patriots have a lesser record than South Hadley (14-6), but its strength-of-schedule helped it secure the higher-seed and a home game.
"It's weird how it worked out, but I will take it," said Thomas of the home playoff game. "I am happy with a home game, that's for sure."
Thomas has only been a full-time member of the varsity program since last season, when he was named a Midland A All-Star -- an honor he received again this season. Last season, Thomas was one of the Patriots' leading scorers, averaging 10.3 points-per-game. This season, the North Middlesex facilitator has boosted his average to 11.1 points.However, Thomas' wealth to his team cannot be solely measured by the number of points he puts in night in and night out. The North Middlesex offense runs through the sure-handed senior. "He's sort of been the glue of our team for a couple of years," North Middlesex head coach Erik Dellasanta said. "He brings timely play and a defensive tenaciousness. Offensively, he is a great decision-maker with the ball. He really gets our offense going."As far as the Patriots are concerned, the team has put together one of its strongest seasons in recent memory.
"This season has been one crazy ride." Thomas said.