SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Dayton boys’ basketball team looks to rebounds this week after a disappointing season opener last Friday.

Senior guard DJ Alicea scored a game-high 23 points, hitting 15 free throws, and juniors Makhi Cromartie and Josh Jackson each added nine points apiece to pace Dayton (0-1) in a 69-51 loss at Hillside.

Alicea, who has score in double digits in 50 straight games, is 100 points away from becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer.

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Senior Kalleem Lambert scored a team-high 20 points with three 3-pointers and junior Jaheim Lewis added 13 points, four rebounds and three steals to lead Hillside (1-0), which used a 17-9 first quarter to take control early.

“Friday’s game was tough more so for what we did to ourselves. We’ll need to take better care of the ball and take advantage of scoring opportunities,” said Dayton head coach Bobby Martin, who is in his 14th season at the helm. “This team is determined to get better and we’ll be better on Saturday.”

The Bulldogs return to action on Saturday as they host the sixteenth annual Joe Pepe Memorial Holiday Tournament and will face Shore Regional (1-1) at 5:30 p.m.

In the first game, Hackettstown (2-0) will face neighbor Millburn (1-0) at 2:30 p.m.

The winners will play in the championship on Monday, Dec. 30 at 5:30 p.m., while the losers will play in the third-place consolation game at 2:30 p.m.

Joe Pepe III was an All-Conference basketball player for three consecutive years at Dayton from 1972-74. He was the first to score 1,000 points in school history. Joe excelled as the quarterback of the Bulldogs football team and earned a scholarship to Liberty State College in West Virginia, where he played for four years.

Proceeds from both the boys and girls tournaments will support the Joe Pepe Memorial Scholarship program.

If you would like to donate, donations can be made to: Joseph Pepe III Memorial Scholarship Fund. 36 Ashwood Road, New Providence, NJ 07974.

Joe’s father, Joe Jr., a 1954 graduate of Dayton, passed away Feb. 2 and was an ardent supporter of Bulldogs Athletics.