With much of the same players back from last year’s team, the Toms River North boys basketball team had a clear goal coming into the 29th annual WOBM Christmas Classic final.
After losing in last year’s final, the Mariners wanted another chance at the WOBM title. They got that opportunity on Sunday night as the No. 1 seed and didn’t waste it with a 56-40 victory over No. 2 seed Christian Brothers Academy.
The victory gave the Mariners their third overall WOBM title and first since 2007.
“Our game plan worked. We had how we wanted to defend them and we did a good job early on,” Toms River North coach Rory Caswell said. “We were able to push the ball and get a couple of baskets and once we got up by a couple, the kids really started to believe in it. We were able to coast from there for the most part.”
The Mariners (7-1) jumped out to a 20-6 first quarter lead and led 29-17 at halftime behind the strong starts from seniors Damien Singleton (11 points), junior Kyle Carrington (14 points) and tournament most valuable player senior Solly Stansbury (game-high 17 points). Singleton scored eight of his 11 points in the first half and Carrington had 10 of his 14 points in the first half and Stansbury had nine of his 17 points in the first half.
“We had a lot of the same players from last year and they felt how that was (the loss) last year and we kind of remembered that,” Caswell said. “So, they didn’t want to feel that way again. So they were preparing hard for this game and going into this game they wanted to come out ready to go.”
In last year’s WOBM final, Jackson Memorial defeated Toms River North, 31-28, in one of the lowest scoring finals in the tournament’s history. But on Sunday night, offense wasn’t a problem as the Mariners had more points at halftime (29) than they did in all of last year’s loss to Jackson Memorial on the same floor at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.
After jumping out to the big lead, the Mariners didn’t let No. 2 seed CBA (4-3) get close in the second half. The Colts had trouble stopping Stansbury as he was able to get to the rim often and also draw fouls that led to a game-high seven free throw attempts and he made six of them. Stansbury went 4-for-4 from the line in the first half.
“We had to get out on their shooters because we watched their last game and they made a lot of shots in the second half,” Stansbury said.
Stansbury compiled 49 points in four WOBM Christmas Classic games including 15 points in Saturday night’s victory over No. 5 seed and last year’s WOBM Champion Jackson Memorial. Now Stansbury can say he helped the Mariners, not only knock off last year’s champion, but also secure another WOBM title for the Mariners.
CBA freshman Pat Andree led the Colts with eight of his team-high 10 points in the fourth quarter and senior Dan Andree added eight points. CBA played in the WOBM Christmas Classic for the first time and made it all the way to the final.
While Stansbury was the MVP, Carrington was also named to the all-tournament first team while Singleton was given the Chuck Kearney Award. CBA’s Pat Andree and Louie Pillari were each picked for the all-tournament first team.