MATAWAN, NJ - It may have taken all season long, but a team finally found a way to stop Jake Dadika. Matawan High School used a stifling second half defensive effort on Spotswood's all-everything player and rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Chargers 45-42. The victory advanced Matawan to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 2 Championship Game against tenth seeded Rumson.
This was a close, hard fought game throughout, with neither team ever holding greater than a five point lead at any point. Dadika scored 10 of his game high 19 points in the first half, helping the Chargers to a 25-22 halftime lead. A terrific defensive strategy by Matawan in the second half proved decisive, as Dadika was double-teamed every time he touched the ball in the second half, and a third defender attacked him at any point that he tried to drive the lane. This left Dadika needing to pass off to his teammates for much of the half, and the Chargers struggled to find much offense, especially in the decisive fourth quarter. Fortunately, the Chargers also played a great defensive game, and that effort on defense kept them in the game right to the final minutes.
Matawan jumped out to a five point lead late, and then Spotswood trimmed the lead to 42-39. When Joe Piscopo rebounded a missed foul shot and found Chris Tawiah for a basket, the Matawan lead grew to 44-39 with 11.2 seconds to play. The Chargers inbounded the ball, and Dadika was fouled on a three point attempt with 6 seconds to play. He made all three shots, cutting the lead to 2 when Piscopo was fouled with 5.7 seconds left. He made one out of two shots, and Dadika had one last chance to play hero, but sadly his last ditch three point attempt fell off, and the Chargers dream season ended.
For Dadika, he ends as the Chargers career scoring leader and bound for Rutgers, buoyed by a spectacular 22-6 senior season. The torch now passes to the youngsters on the Chargers to carry on and build legacies of their own in the coming seasons.