NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - This time, the first quarter was a solid one for the Dayton boys basketball team.
It was the three remaining quarters that proved to be not so successful Thursday night.
Senior guard James Gardner scored a team-high 15 points and senior guard Ka-Ron Dock added 12 with three 3-pointers to lead North Plainfield to a 69-40 victory over Dayton in North Plainfield.
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Junior guard Tony Godwin had 10 points with two 3-pointers and senior center Jason Okali chipped in with eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds for North Plainfield (17-6), which snapped a two-game win streak and improved to 3-3 over its last six games.
Trailing 18-17 after the first quarter, North Plainfield exploded for a 21-8 second quarter to take a 38-24 halftime lead. The Canucks outscored Dayton, 31-14, in the second half to seal the win.
Senior guard Nick Ulizio continued his hot hand with a game-high 17 points, draining five 3-pointers and junior guard Antonio Salcfas added 12 for Dayton (10-12), which saw its two-game win streak snapped and lost for the second time in its last five games as its regular season campaign ended.
“North Plainfield has a lot of weapons. We did a good job in the first half, attacking the rim and forcing them away from their strength,” said Dayton head coach Bobby Martin. “They had a run to open the second half that was tough for us to recover from. Everybody starts 0-0 now and we are looking forward to a big night on Tuesday.”
NJSIAA State Tournament starts Tuesday
With a weekend to rest and regroup, the sixth-seeded Bulldogs begin its “new season” Tuesday night at 7 p.m. as they host 11th-seeded Secaucus in the first round of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 in Springfield.
The winner advances to the second round and will face the winner of 14th-seeded American History and third-seeded Hoboken on Thursday, March 2 (site/time TBD).
Last season, Dayton defeated Weehawken, 78-61, at home in the first round on Feb. 29 and lost at Hoboken, 56-47, in the second round.