This morning at 9:30 the most prominent sight at the Quality Inn of Toms River will that of teen-agers eating like there’s no tomorrow. Boys and Girls alike will be feasting on a breakfast buffet and many will make second and third trips before they are done.

Tonight many of them will work off what they gain because it’s opening night of the high school basketball season and they are basketball players. What brings them to the Quality Inn this morning is what’s become part of the tradition that makes the 28th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic more than just another high school basketball tournament.

Since 1998 the hotel has hosted a “Tipoff Brunch” which unofficially opens the Classic and brings together players, coaches and tournament officials. The theme has always been to bring together the student-athletes who will be competing against one another starting this weekend at the Pine Belt Arena on the campus of Toms River High School North. Not only will they eat well but they’ll get to hear the comments of Monmouth University first-year head coaches King Rice and Jenny Palmateer who are this morning’s guest speakers. Also on hand will be Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Frank Roselli as they are our partners and hosts in the event which features 16 boys and 16 girls teams.

The WOBM Classic opens tomorrow with 8 boys’ games beginning at 1pm. For most of the day there will be games going on simultaneously in both the Pine Belt Arena and North gym and the same is true for Sunday when the girls hit the court.

The St. Rose boys and Rumson girls are the defending champions but coaches have awarded top seeds this year to the Jackson Memorial boys and Manasquan girls, who also begin the season as the #1 ranked team in the shore.

The complete schedule is available at

Four players from the Shore Conference were among the 49 from New Jersey selected as winners of the Maxwell Football Club’s Mini Max High School Award. The local players are Scott Buxbaum of Toms River North, Southern Regional’s Alec Morris, Ryan Davies of Howell and Manalapan’s John Sieczkowski. Players were nominated by their coaches and were evaluated based on factors including academics, football performance and community service. They will be honored at a dinner next month in New Brunswick.

Ocean County College’s Liz Lawler was named this week as the NJCAA Basketball Player of the Week. The former Lacey standout had 63 points and 41 rebounds in two wins for the Vikings.