A holiday tradition since 1984 the WOBM Christmas Classic presented by Jersey Mike’s returns for its 38th edition this December with significant changes to the basketball tournament for the first time since the field was expanded to its current 32 team format.  The changes were initiated by me as the tournament director in conjunction with many coaches who were directly involved.

Over the past couple of years issues of competitive balance, schedule and number of games played were all topics of discussion:

Competitive Balance-When you have a 16-team field for both boys and girls the disparity between the top and bottom will always be considerable but it seems to have become a bigger problem in recent years. This is a holiday tournament and mismatches resulting in blowouts does not do anyone any good.

What we have done is take the 16 teams and put them in what hopefully is balanced brackets of eight.  With input from coaches we tried to divide the field in an equitable manner taking strength of program and division alignment into consideration.  You will not find all the top teams in one bracket but split in two.

Schedule-With the NJSIAA reducing the number of games teams can play and shortening the season there was overwhelming agreement that playing as many as four games in the tournament was not beneficial.  By splitting the teams into two brackets everyone will play 3 games.

In addition, had we kept things like they were we would have had to start the tournament on December 17-18.  Teams that lost their first-round games would not play in the WOBM again until December 26 and they would be in the consolation round. Meanwhile, in between they would be playing regular season division games which would dilute the impact of being in the tournament.

Holding the Christmas Classic from December 26-30 will truly make it feel like a holiday tournament. The tournament seeds and first-round pairings will be announced on December 12 following the coaches seeding meeting. The Marlboro boys and Red Bank Catholic girls are the defending champions.

38th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic          (Honorary Brackets)

 BOYS (Jim Ruhnke)                            BOYS (Steve Gepp)

Brick Memorial                                       Colts Neck

Central                                                  Donovan Catholic

Marlboro                                              Freehold Township

Manasquan                                          Jackson Memorial

Middletown South                                  Manchester

SJ Vianney                                            Red Bank Catholic

TR East                                                  TR North

TR South                                               Wall

GIRLS (Ray Cervino)                           GIRLS (Kathy Snyder)

Central                                                  Brick Memorial

Donovan Catholic                                    Ewing

Lacey                                                     Manchester

Manasquan                                          Point Boro

Middletown South                                   Red Bank

Red Bank Catholic                              Rumson-Fair Haven

TR North                                               TR East

TR South                                               Wall


38th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic Schedule

 MONDAY, DECEMBER 26 (Quarterfinals)

 Jim Ruhnke Bracket (RWJArena)                              Steve Gepp Bracket (TRN)

10:00    #3        vs         #6        Loser A                        #3        vs            #6        Loser E

11:30    #2        vs         #7        Loser B                        #2        vs         #7            Loser F

1:00      #4        vs         #5        Loser C                        #4        vs         #5            Loser G

2:30      #1        vs         #8        Loser D                        #1        vs            #8        Loser H

Ray Cervino Bracket  (RWJArena)                            Kathy Snyder Bracket (TRN)

4:00      #3        vs         #6        Loser I                          #3        vs         #6           Loser M

5:30      #2        vs         #7        Loser J                         #2        vs         #7            Loser N

7:00      #4        vs         #5        Loser K                         #4        vs            #5        Loser O

8:30      #1        vs         #8        Loser L                         #1        vs         #8            Loser P


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27 (Consolations)

Gepp Bracket (RWJ)                                                  Ruhnke Bracket (TRN)

12:00    E          vs         F                                              A        vs         B

1:30      G         vs         H                                             C         vs         D

Snyder Bracket (RWJ)                                                Cervino Bracket (TRN)

3:00      M         vs         N                                             I           vs         J

4:30      O         vs         P                                              K         vs         L


10:00    (G) Snyder        3/6 Winner       vs         2/7 Winner

11:30    (G) Snyder        4/5 Winner       vs         1/8 Winner

1:00      (G) Cervino      3/6 Winner       vs         2/7 Winner

2:30      (G) Cervino      4/5 Winner       vs         1/8 Winner

4:00      (B) Gepp          3/6 Winner       vs         2/7 Winner

5:30      (B) Gepp          4/5 Winner       vs         1/8 Winner

7:00      (B) Ruhnke       3/6 Winner       vs         2/7 Winner

8:30      (B) Ruhnke       4/5 Winner       vs         1/8 Winner

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29 (Consolations)

RWJArena                                                                  TRN

12:00    Snyder (M-N/O-P)                                            Snyder (M-N/O-P)

1:30      Cervino (I-J/K-L)                                              Cervino (I-J/K-L)

3:00      Gepp (E-F/G-H)                                                Gepp (E-F/G-H)

4:30      Ruhnke (A-B/C-D)                                            Ruhnke  (A-B/C-D)


10:00    Boys Semifinal Losers-Ruhnke

11:30    Boys Semifinal Losers-Gepp

1:00      Girls Semifinal Losers-Cervino

2:30      Girls Semifinal Losers-Snyder

4:00     Girls Division Final-Snyder

5:30     Girls Division Final-Cervino

7:30     Boys Division Final-Gepp

9:00     Boys Division  Final-Ruhnke

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