SPRINGFIELD, NJ – This game was added to the schedule ahead of the tournaments. For both teams, it was a test and hopefully, good preparation for coming sectionals. In a seesaw battle, Dayton ended up winning the game 48-43.
After leading at the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs fell behind in the second quarter. Coach Dave Rennie said, “We did not have the same intensity they had in the second quarter, but we got it back in the third quarter and we regained the lead.”
Dayton led 9-6 at the end of the first quarter, but Bernards took control in the second quarter outscoring the Bulldogs 19-13 and went into the half with a 25-22 lead.
The third quarter got off to a slow start. With less than five minutes and 20 second left Bernards scored the first basket of the quarter. After that basket, the Bulldogs went on to out score the Mountaineers 15-2 the rest of the quarter. That lead held the rest of the game. Bernards was able to narrow it to two points with less than three points remaining. At that point, sophomore Michele Bellino drove the basket for a lay-up and then after getting the ball back was fouled going to the basket. She made both free throws to widen the Bulldogs’ lead.
With time running out, Bernards began to chip away at the lead again. However, the clock was not their friend and they began to foul to stop it. Eventually, that meant sending Dayton’s senior captain Amanda Lau and 1,000+ career pointer to the free three throw line with seven seconds left. She made both free throws and to get to the final score.
For the game, Dayton was led by junior Caitlynn McTernan. She found the three-point stroke early in the game and ended with 15 points and ended four three-points shots and 14 points.
Senior captain Amanda Lau and junior Sayre Brandstatter scored 13 points each, while Michelle Bellino scored eight points.
Senior captain Nicolette Angelo, senior Melanie Schickler and senior Zoe Frei also saw playing time and along with the rest of the team played aggressive defense and when in the game, helped advance the ball up the court under a full court press.
Dayton is 20-3 for the season and the Mountaineers are 17-7.
On Monday, Dayton starts the NJSIAA North 2 Group 1 Sectional Tournament. They are seeded second and face 15th seeded Roselle Park. The winner will play the winner of seventh seed Weehawken against tenth seeded Glen Ridge on February 28.