For the players in attendance the 37th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic officially began Tuesday with the “Tip Off” Breakfast hosted by the Clarion Hotel in Toms River.  More than 250 players, coaches and guests attended the event which comes on the eve of the basketball tournament held at the RWJBarnabas Health Arena on the campus of Toms River High School North.

Boys and girls made multiple trips to the buffet line before I opened the proceedings with thanks that after missing last year due to the pandemic we were back again with a 52-game tournament played over 7 days beginning this weekend with the girls playing their first round games on Saturday and the boys teams to follow Sunday.

Welcoming remarks were made by Sgt. First Class Erik Shanner, the Station Commander of the U.S. Army’s Toms River Recruiting Station.  The Army is serving as the presenting sponsor for the tournament and will be on hand throughout.  Also extending well wishes were Neil Bryant, Vice President of Operations for Community Medical Center/RWJBarnabas Health and Dr. Jon Lentz of Seaview Orthopaedics, the official team doctors of the Classic.

Serving as guest speaker was first-year Monmouth University head women’s basketball coach Ginny Boggess who has quickly made her mark on the Hawks program.  After winning just two games all of last season Monmouth is 4-4 and gave a solid effort before falling to 23rd ranked Oregon State last weekend.  Boggess made an immediate impression of the players and coaches and her speech focused on how preparation leads to success in all aspects of a student-athletes life.

If you’re planning on attending the tournament be sure and sign up today for the Michael’s Furniture “Best Seats in the House” promotion where you can win your own courtside seats throughout the tournament.  Drawing is Thursday and details are available at


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