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Tri-sport athlete Madyson Ruehling leads Oak Ridge girls basketball to 2-0 start

Oak Ridge junior Madyson Ruehling recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the Blue Jays 45-31 season-opening win over St. Paul Lutheran on Nov. 20 at home. Photo by Nick McNeal

Last week for the second-straight season, the Oak Ridge girls basketball team started the winter with a 2-0 record. The Blue Jays are coming off a historic campaign where they recorded double-digit wins and won a postseason game for the first time in school history.

Thankfully for Oak Ridge, the team returns some key players from last season like all-conference and all-district selection junior Reagan Howe, as well as a three-sport athlete like fellow junior Madyson Ruehling. Outside of basketball, she plays volleyball in the fall with Howe and softball in the spring.

“Being a tri-sport athlete can be stressful at times, but I wouldn’t want it any other way because it’s so amazing how many friendships sports can bring you,” Ruehling said. “I would say it can be beneficial because it can help you stay fit and help you become more disciplined.”

Playing three sports also allows Madyson to have a better connection with her friends and learn more about them. Ruehling said that basketball is her favorite sport since it has helped build her self-confidence.

Looking at Oak Ridge’s 2-0 start to the season, Ruehling was the only other Blue Jay to record a double-double outside of Howe. Madyson accomplished this feat with 12 points and 10 rebounds in a 45-31 home win over St. Paul Lutheran on Nov. 20. She followed that up with five points and nine boards for a 40-30 victory on the road versus Bloomfield the night after.

“To me, it means that my team and I have worked hard to accomplish those two wins,” Ruehling said. “It also means to me that we need to keep working hard because it’s still early in the season. I feel really grateful that my teammates and I can work so well together to achieve these wins.

“This year I have definitely improved in being more confident in my abilities on the court. I also think my shooting has improved significantly.”

To lead the Blue Jays, Howe recorded a double-double in both double-digit wins as she had 18 points and 12 rebounds versus St. Paul and lastly 13 points and 10 boards against Bloomfield.

Oak Ridge ended up losing its first game of the season to four-time reigning district champions and undefeated Delta on Monday night. However, the Blue Jays bounced back with a 45-28 win over Puxico, where both Ruehling and Howe each had double-doubles with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 20 points, 10 rebounds, respectively.

As for the rest of the season, Oak Ridge (3-1) will hope to break its program-record of 10 wins and reach the Class 1 District 1 championship game for the first time.

“I would say my team and I have been building off last season by continuing to work hard in the offseason and our determination to improve,” Madyson said.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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