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Written by Annie Elizabeth
SSN Contributor

Peyton and Eli. Venus and Serena. Charlie and C.J.

American sports fans know the Manning brothers and the Williams sisters as the preeminent sibling duos in their respective sports. This past season, Shore Conference basketball fans got to know the Ruoff brothers, Charlie and C.J., and watch them play against one another in a unique rivalry.

Charlie Ruoff, a senior at Christian Brothers Academy and C.J. Ruoff, a sophomore at Red Bank Catholic, went head-to-head this year in the Founder’s Cup game on February 15th at Red Bank Catholic. The Caseys bested the Colts that day, 67-54, with C.J. scoring 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting. It was the first opportunity for brothers to face off in the public eye, but the two have been competing at home as well as on the court for many years.

CBA senior Charlie Ruoff. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

“We push each other to work harder,” Charlie Ruoff said. “I’ll be outside shooting and he’ll come out and want to play a game of something. Same thing with weightlifting, or anything for that matter, we are always competing.”

As the older brother, Charlie has watched his youngest sibling grow over the years, in more ways than just his size.

“He’s definitely gotten more confident and developed a nice game, although he steals his moves from me,” Charlie Ruoff joked.

Jokes aside, it is true that the younger sibling owes his career to his big brother.

“I’ve always watched his games as a kid,” C.J. Ruoff said. “Starting with our recreational basketball league.  I would sit on the bench and just to see him out there and this really made me want to start my basketball career.”

Despite the love of competition, the two agreed they preferred playing together. This past year they teamed up during the offseason to play for GSP Hoops, an organization that competes in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Both boys also played their entire basketball careers for the NJ Shoreshots AAU basketball teams, located in Neptune, NJ.

“I would say I like playing on his team because we just have so much chemistry. I know where he’s going to be. It definitely helps,” said C.J. Ruoff.

The boys’ father, Kirk Ruoff, has always supported their athletic endeavors in any way possible. One way was through a collaboration with Shore Sports Network to introduce the “Turning Point Player of the Game.” Kirk Ruoff is Founder and CEO of Turning Point, a breakfast and lunch restaurant chain with 19 locations in three states.

The “Turning Point Player of the Game” award recognized outstanding play as selected by the Shore Sports Network announcing team, including Kevin Williams, Matt Harmon and Ed Sarluca. This season’s recipients included Shore Sports Network Boys Basketball Player of the Year Ben Roy of Manasquan High School and NJ.com Girls Basketball Player of the Year Madison St. Rose of St. John Vianney, to name a few.

All three men of the Ruoff family emphasized the impact the local shore basketball community has had on their family. Charlie and C.J. Ruoff grew up playing with many of the same kids and coaches.

“A lot of people follow shore basketball and the Shore Sports Network does an excellent job covering and highlighting the athletes’ accomplishments,” Kirk Ruoff said. “We want to support these efforts and make sure this continues. The Turning Point is a local-born company (Little Silver, NJ, 1998) and we love to be a part of the communities we operate in and sponsor local high schools, charitable organizations and nonprofits whenever possible.”

C.J. Ruoff has two more years with the Caseys and believes they can be just as good next season as long as they “keep the same energy from this year.” Charlie Ruoff, on the other hand, hung up his CBA Colts jersey after a successful senior year as team captain. His relationship with basketball may be changing, but it’s definitely not over.

“I just love the game so much, I don’t think I’m ever going to stop playing…I’m not really sure yet where I am going to go to college but I just know I’ll always have a basketball in my hands.”

Both teams were able to finish their respective seasons before the COVID-19 outbreak forced all high schools to close. Statewide government mandates have impacted workouts, offseason practices and the start of the AAU season. The Ruoff boys, however, are staying active by shooting outside and continuing to keep the sibling competition alive.

Red Bank Catholic sophomore C.J. Ruoff. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

“No, the coronavirus has not slowed us down that much,” C.J. Ruoff said. “I’m still competing with my brother – in the driveway shooting, lifting weights, playing ping pong and even board games.  I don't care what I'm playing, I want to win.”

While the Turning Point continues to support Shore Sports Network through its sponsorship, Kirk Ruoff spoke out about some of the current challenges his and other local businesses are facing at this time.

“With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Turning Point has made some difficult decisions. With the current mandate in place and having to eliminate in-restaurant dining, we have moved to a delivery and curbside pickup option.

“We have attempted to keep as many of our workers as possible and could really use the support of the communities to help sustain them. It would mean so much to our family to have the Shore Sports Network community support us during this time. Other restaurants I know in the area, who have continued to remain open, also need the customers to sustain themselves. We need the community to realize that every meal that is not ordered from a restaurant is putting that establishment at risk of going under.”

To place an order and support, you can visit the Turning Point website at www.theturningpoint.biz and connect with us on Instagram and Facebook @turningpointrestaurants.

You can find lists of restaurants that are still offering service at the following websites:

https://www.njrha.org/carryout--delivery.html

https://www.app.com/story/entertainment/dining/2020/03/23/coronavirus-n-updates-which-restaurants-have-closed-remain-open-monmouth-ocean/2894599001/