The Dayton boys’ basketball team came ever so close to capturing its first-ever state title, falling to Point Pleasant Beach 43-39 in Sunday night’s Group 1 state championship game at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway.
Dayton trailed by one point going into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs were sparked by 12 points from Joe Rogers and 10 from senior Elijah Brown.
Dayton reached the Group 1 final for the first time two years ago, falling to Asbury Park 64-50 at Rutgers.
The Bulldogs had a five-game winning streak snapped and concluded another stellar season at 22-6.
Sparked by a senior-laden cast that also included Isaiah Rogers, Yousek Zaki, Anthony Cioffi and Jared Clayton, Dayton was the last team in Union County to lose this season, starting 13-0.
The Bulldogs captured the Union County Conference’s Valley Division championship with a 13-1 league mark, splitting with second-place Summit.
Dayton won North 2, Group 1 for the second time in three years, doing so as the top seed, The Bulldogs defeated Newark Collegiate, Newark Vocational, Dunellen and Unviversity all at home. Dayton also defeated University in the final at home to capture the section two years ago. Last year, Dayton lost at home to University in overtime in the final.
DAYTON BULLDOGS IN 2013 STATE TOURNAMENT
NORTH 2, GROUP 1
First round: Dayton 64, Newark Collegiate 41 – at Dayton
Quarterfinals: Dayton 73, Newark Vocational 67 (OT) – at Dayton
Semifinals: Dayton 59, Dunellen 41 – at Dayton
Final: Dayton 63, University 58 – at Dayton
Semifinals: Dayton 36, Waldwick 32 – at East Orange Campus
Final: Point Pleasant Beach 43, Dayton 39 – at Rutgers
– JR PARACHINI