CRANFORD, NJ — With a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter, things were looking up for the Dayton boys basketball team.
Cranford had other ideas.
Trailing 46-39 after the third quarter, Cranford exploded with a 23-12 fourth quarter to propel past Dayton, 62-58, Thursday in Cranford.
Cranford (13-11) has won eight of its last 10 games.
Senior guard DJ Alicea, playing in his last regular season game, did not disappoint with a team-high 21 points and three 3-pointers for Dayton (11-12), which has lost two straight and three of its last five games.
Alicea, who has 443 points (37 3-pointers) on the season, has scored in double figures in an amazing 70 straight games played and raised his school-leading career total to 1,518 points.
Junior Josh Jackson added 15 points and junior Mike Kanarek posted 11 points, hitting three 3-pointers for the Bulldogs. Sophomore Cameron Campbell-Miller chipped in with nine points and senior Arshad Lassiter added a bucket in the loss.
State Tournament Monday: The ninth-seeded Bulldogs will visit 8th-seeded American History (15-9) in Newark in the first round of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 Sectional Tournament on Monday, March 2.
American History has won four of its last five games and comes off a 54-45 win versus in-city rival Science Park on Wednesday.
American History is led by three seniors: Naseem Cheek (371 points, 191 rebounds); Tyshawn Whittaker (325 points, 29 3-pointers) and Jabriel Abdur-Razzaq Smith (217 points, 25 3-pointers).
The winner advances to Wednesday’s quarterfinal round on March 4 and will play the winner between 16th-seeded People’s Prep and top-seeded Dunellen.