SPRINGFIELD, NJ - This season, the first quarter has been a nemesis for the Dayton boys basketball team.
Junior AJ Kopacz scored a game-high 18 points and Casey McKee added 16 to lead Oratory to a 60-52 victory over Dayton Thursday night in Springfield.
Senior Anthony Guerriero posted 12 points for Oratory (7-8), which led 15-7 after the first quarter and used a 19-9 fourth quarter to pull away for the win.
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Thus far this season, Dayton has trailed after the first quarter in four straight and 11 of 16 games played.
The Rams, which snapped a two-game losing streak, won for just the second time in its last five games and swept the season-series from Dayton, having previously dropped a 57-53 overtime decision to Oratory in Summit on Jan. 17.
Senior guard Nick Ulizio scored a team-high 16 points with two 3-pointers and junior Antonio Salcfas added 15 points with two 3-pointers for Dayton (7-9), which has dropped two straight and three of its last four games.
“We had a nice run in the second and third quarters and we were up by two points at the end of the third and got in some foul trouble which put them on the line for the fourth quarter,” said Dayton head coach Robert Martin. “Moving forward, we have to be sound on defense. We play our next two games on the road and if you can’t get stops, it’s going to be tough to win. We’ll also need to get transition baskets and points from the foul line.”
Dayton, which dropped to 3-4 in its last seven games, was supposed to play Paterson Charter in a 1p.m. Saturday matinee, but the game has been postponed due to Paterson Charter advancing in their county tournament. No make-up date has been confirmed yet.
Dayton’s next two games are on the road, with a trip to Frenchtown to take on Delaware Valley on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., followed by a short jump to Kenilworth to take on neighbor and rival Brearley in a Thursday tilt at 5:30 p.m.
FYI: The Union County Tournament boys basketball seeding meeting takes place on Tuesday.