What started as a replacement tournament in 1984 has grown into one of the largest holiday basketball events in New Jersey and the 36th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic returns later this month to the RWJBarnabas Health Arena at Toms River High School North.

The 7-day, 52 game high school hoops extravaganza is once again presented by InVision Eyecare of Lakewood and Eatontown and will run from December 21-30.

The field of 32 teams is virtually the same as it’s been for the past several years with two exceptions.  On the boys side longtime participant St. Rose is not returning and has been replaced by a Wall team that won a division and state sectional title in 2019.

With four starters back the Crimson Knights should be one of the top teams along with defending champion Red Bank Catholic and perennial contenders Manasquan and Toms River North.

The notable change to the girls field is the return of Manasquan who won the WOBM Christmas Classic three straight years (2013-15) before heading elsewhere during the holidays.  They replace Sayreville and along with everyone else will be chasing a Manchester squad that is seeking its third straight championship.

This Sunday the 32 head coaches will gather at The Villa (across from The Office Lounge) in Toms River to seed the teams which will determine first round pairings.  The 16 boys teams will play their first round games on Saturday, December 21st with the girls opening round the following day.

We are grateful for the support of our sponsors, many of whom have been part of this event for years.  InVision has been around for nearly as many years as the tournament itself.  Founded by Dr. Edward Hedaya the practice features a team of specialists trained to handle all aspects of eye care at their Lakewood and Eatontown locations.

Back for their 36th year is the Causeway Family of Dealerships in Manahawkin who once again will provide tee-shirts for the players and coaches.

Others who continue to be a big part of the WOBM Christmas Classic include RWJBarnabas Health, who sponsors the academic scholarships, The Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, Seaview Orthopaedics, Atlantic Physical Therapy Center and Jersey Mike’s.

Among new sponsors for 2019 are Health Village Imaging and the Ocean County Vocational Technical School.