My holiday season is likely a bit different than yours because many years ago I had this idea to host a high school basketball tournament.

It wasn’t really a big deal, just eight boys teams playing games over three days after Christmas at Ocean County College.  That’s how the WOBM Christmas Classic began in 1984 and flash forward to 2018 and that “little” tournament has grown into what is likely the largest holiday basketball event in New Jersey.

Since high school basketball practice officially began Monday this seems like a good time to announce that the 35th annual WOBM Christmas Classic tips off on the weekend of December 22-23 at the RWJBarnabas Health Arena on the campus of Toms River High School North.

Presented by InVision Eye Care, the tournament features the same field of 32 teams from a year ago who will play 52 games over 7 days leading up to the championship games on December 30th.

Back to defend their titles are the Manasquan boys and Manchester girls and they each return the tournament MVP’s from last December in Warriors senior Brad McCabe and Hawks sophomore Destiny Adams.

On Sunday, December 9 the 32 head coaches will gather at The Villa, across from The Office Restaurant and Lounge in Toms River to seed the teams and that will determine the first round pairings.  The 16 girls teams will play their first round games on Saturday, December 22nd with the boys opening round the following day.

We have made some format changes for this year. All first-round games will be played in the RWJBarnabas Health Arena and the boys and girls quarterfinals will all be played on Thursday, December 27th with all games again played in the main arena.

The High School North gym will only be used for some consolation games.

We are also delighted to announce our partnership with InVision Eye Care which has been around about as many years as the tournament itself.  Founded by Dr. Edward Hedaya the practice has grown at their facility in Lakewood but their core mission has not changed in providing outstanding eye care for life.  We’re delighted to have them a part of this year’s event.

Look for more information in the days ahead at wobm.com and shoresportsnetwork.com.