SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Dayton boys basketball team fought to the end Tuesday night, but it wasn’t enough.
Senior forward AJ Kopacz scored 20 points, including five points in overtime, and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Oratory to a 57-53 victory over neighbor Dayton in Summit.
Junior guard Billy Skinner had 11 points with two 3-pointers and sophomore guard Casey McKee and junior forward Liam Otterbein each added 10 points apiece for Oratory, which outscored Dayton, 9-5, in overtime.
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Oratory (5-5) has won two straight since dropping five straight games.
Down by as many as 14 points in the first half and trailing 30-21 at halftime, Dayton fought its way back, outscoring Oratory, 27-18, in the second half, highlighted by a 16-9 third quarter to force overtime.
Junior Antonio Salcfas scored 20 points, hitting three 3-pointers, and senior Joe Kastner added 10 points for Dayton.
Salcfas has scored in double figures in three straight and seven of his last nine games and Kastner returned to double-digit scoring since a 59-48 home victory over Hillside on Jan. 5, where he tallied 13 points.
Senior Matt Kanengiser had eight points in the loss for Dayton (4-6), which has lost four of its last five games.
“We were 1-for-15 shooting in the first quarter which is a tough way to start any game especially one on the road. That set us back and we had no choice but to fight back. We did fight back and had opportunities to win the game in regulation. We’ve had two gut wrenching loses which tests you mentally,” said Dayton head coach Robert martin. “We bounced back after the first one and we are expecting to bounce back tomorrow night. We understand that shooting is the most inconsistent part of the game at any level, but defense and energy is something you have to have every night regardless of how you are shooting. I trust this team that we are going to respond.”
The Bulldogs return to Mountain Avenue for two straight home matchups, starting with neighbor Brearley on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Koinonia on Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. tilt.