SPRINGFIELD, NJ - This season, the first quarter has been a nightmare for the Dayton boys basketball team and the same held true Tuesday night.

But a first-year player took advantage of his opportunity, stepped up his game, and helped the Bulldogs, not only end the month of February, but continue its season in the state tournament.

Playing in only his eighth game of the season, freshmen guard DJ Alicea scored a career-high 12 points and senior guard Matt Kanengiser added nine, all in the second half, to lead sixth-seeded Dayton to a 43-32 victory over 11th-seeded Secaucus in the first round of the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 tournament in Springfield.

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Senior guard Nick Ulizio and junior guard Jordan Wendolowski each added seven points apiece for Dayton (11-12), which advanced to Thursday's quarterfinals and will visit third-seeded Hoboken (17-9), which outlasted 14th-seeded American History, 64-52.  The Redwings have won two of its last three and 11 of its last 13 games.

Dayton has won three of its last four and four of its last six games.

Trailing 13-6 after the first quarter, Dayton outscored Secaucus, 9-2, in the second quarter to knot the game at 15-15 at halftime.

The Bulldogs outscored Secaucus, 28-10, in the second half, highlighted by a 13-7 third quarter.

Senior Robert Kimelman had 11 points with two 3-pointers and sophomore Aaron Kashian and junior Gabe Sanchez each added seven points apiece to pace Secaucus (9-16), which lost two of its last three and dropped to 3-5 over its last eight games to end its season.

Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup is on the one-year anniversary of last season’s sectional quarterfinal showdown as Hoboken upended Dayton, 56-47, at home as Davis scored a game-high 33 points with 12 rebounds, also on March 2.