Christmas Classic First Round – Hometown View
The opening round of the WOBM Christmas Classic presented by Barnabas Health saw a couple of surprises when it came to the Boys field but it was pretty much chalk in the Girls division of the 28th annual basketball tournament at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.
On Saturday Toms River South and Lacey pulled off surprises based on the pre-tournament seeds but in both cases you really couldn’t be shocked. The #12 Indians edged fifth-seeded Barnegat, who had a starter injured during the pre-game and never seemed to recover. Sophomore Marquis Davie scored 19 points for South who will face #13 Lacey when the tournament resumes on December 26th. The Lions, who opened the season with a rout of Southern on Friday night, continued their strong early-season play as Logan McDonald scored 17 points in a rather easy win over #4 Point Boro, a team that usually plays very well in the tournament. The South-Lacey game will also match the student against the mentor, as Lions coach Ryan O’Rourke played for and later coached with current South coach John MacIntosh.
The best game of the opening day saw 10th seed Brick Memorial outlast #7 Wall in double overtime 79-73 Vince Lombardi scored 29 points. The win was even more remarkable when you consider the Mustangs had played an overtime game the night before when they beat Middletown South. Next up for them on December 26th is a date with defending champion St. Rose, who cruised past Toms River East. In other quarterfinal round games coming up it will be top-seed Jackson Memorial taking on #8 Southern and #3 Manchester playing sixth-seeded Toms River North.
The only Girls game Sunday which would be called a minor upset saw #10 Brick Memorial oust 7th seed Lacey 42-38. Top-seeded Manasquan cruised past Barnegat as Notre Dame-bound Michaela Mabry scored 22 points and #2 Point Boro routed Ocean behind Kelly Hughes’ 23 points. Also advancing to the quarterfinals on December 27th were Jackson, defending champion Rumson, Toms River East, Monsignor Donovan and Shore, who needed overtime to topple Toms River North.
I have said time and time again the success of the WOBM Christmas Classic is due to the number of sponsors who support the event and an example is the new ShopRite on Route 37 in Toms River, who donated water and soda for our hospitality room. Special thanks to Store Manager Sal Gauzzo for all his help at the last minute.