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Burger 25 Week 1 Player of the Week

Dylan Russell, Toms River East

Russell and Toms River East were revelations during the 38th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic last week. The Raiders entered the tournament 0-4, coming off a two-point loss to Southern, followed by a 10-point loss to Brick Memorial in which they nearly erased a 22-point deficit.

Toms River East carried that momentum through Christmas weekend and knocked off second-seeded St. John Vianney and defending tournament champion Marlboro in consecutive rounds to earn a trip to the Jim Ruhnke bracket championship game as the No. 7 seed in the eight-team bracket.

During the tournament, Russell was the Raiders steadiest and most spectacular performer, averaging 16.3 points and 11.3 rebounds in his team’s three games. His standout performance came in the 58-53, semifinal win over Marlboro, in which the 6-foot-3 senior put up 20 points and 18 boards.

Russell also put up 16 and seven in the first-round, come-from-behind win over St. John Vianney and led Toms River East with 13 points and nine boards in the championship loss to top-seeded Manasquan.

Through nine games this season, Russell -- a third-year starter for Toms River East and the team's leading scorer from a year ago -- is averaging 13 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals for the 3-6 Raiders.

Russell won the first Player of the Week vote of 2023 with 28 percent of the vote, besting Ocean sophomore Zayier Dean (22 percent) and fellow WOBM First-Team-All-Tournament selection Keith Adame of Jackson Memorial (21 percent).

For winning the first Player of the Week contest, Russell will receive a $25 gift card to Burger 25.


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