SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – Redemption is sweet.
Junior guard DJ Alicea tallied a game-high 29 points, shooting 7-for-8 from the charity stripe, and sophomore guard Josh Jackson added 14 points, hitting three 3-pointers, to power Dayton past neighbor Oratory, 56-48, Thursday in Springfield.
Senior guard Vinny Pulice posted seven points with a 3-pointer for Dayton (13-4), which has won three straight and four of its last six games. Trailing 15-12 after the first quarter, Dayton responded with a 16-7 second quarter to take a 28-22 halftime lead and control of the game.
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Oratory provided the Bulldogs with their second most-lopsided loss of the season, 54-29, in Summit back on Jan. 24.
Alicea, a three-year starter who is averaging 24 points per game thus far this season, has scored in double figures in 39 consecutive games dating back to last year.
“I think as the season has progressed we have grown together and work well together," Alicea said. "Tonight was a must win and we also had some bad blood because of what happened the first time we played them,”
He added, “as long as we continue to play like this, the conference is ours to take.”
The 18th-seeded Bulldogs break up their three-game homestretch with a visit to neighbor and seventh-seeded Union (9-10) Friday in the first round of the Union County Tournament, with first tipoff scheduled for 4:00 p.m. The Rams have lost four straight games.
The winner will advance to play the winner between 15th-seeded Cranford and 10th-seeded Rahway.
Bulldogs nab sixth seed as NJSIAA State Tournament seeding/brackets announced
The Bulldogs nabbed the sixth seed in the upcoming NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 tournament and will host 11th-seeded Weequahic on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7:00 p.m.
“The sixth seed is very important. We have some very important games coming up and will need to be at our best,” said Alicea. “We will continue to work and challenge whoever stands in front of us.”
The winner will advance to the sectional quarterfinals and will face the winner between 14th-seeded Ridgefield and 3rd-seeded Dunellen on Thursday, Feb. 28.
Bulldog Bites: Currently, Alicea has 896 career points (407 this season) … The Bulldogs improved to 10-0 at home … Funeral services for Joe Pepe Jr., a long-time Springfield resident, Jonathan Dayton graduate, proud Bulldog supporter and creator of the Joe Pepe III Memorial Invitational will take place Friday and Saturday. Information about the service can be found here > https://bradleyfuneralhomes.com/joseph-s-pepe-jr/