BATH TOWNSHIP — Swat.
With that early game block, Emily Ruhe delivered a serious signal to Celina: Come into the Bath center’s territory and there will be a price to be paid.
The 6-foot senior Ruhe was non-stop energy Saturday night in helping Bath to a 39-38 victory over Celina to capture the Division II girls basketball district championship.
Ruhe finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks. She also had another eight or 10 shots in which she altered the shot’s path to the hoop. One close-in Celina shot nearly went over the backboard in an attempt to avoid a Ruhe monster block.
Celina 6-foot center Beth Homan began the game pushing and leaning on Ruhe down low. It looked like it would be a great matchup.
“I had to try to get lower than her and not let her push me around and my teammates did a good job finding me,” Ruhe said.
Ruhe responded by taking the ball inside at the offensive end. At the defensive end, Ruhe was the anchor at the back of the Wildkittens’ 2-3 zone.
Homan would shoot.
Celina’s 6-foot Kelly Stahl would shoot.
Celina guards would drive to the basket and shoot.
“I knew this could be our last game, they were a good team, and I needed to come out with energy so it carried on to the rest of the team,” Ruhe said.
Often times Ruhe would gobble up the rebound on her own block.
“Unbelievable,” was how Bath coach Greg Mauk described it after the Wildkittens’ win.
“I said this at halftime walking out of the locker room, ‘I can’t believe the attitude of Emily Ruhe has right now,’” Mauk said. “It’s been something I’ve waited to see for four years. She was mad because she wasn’t getting the ball. She was upset in the locker room and told them, ‘Get me the ball.’ And that’s not typically Emily. She’s such a quiet, reserved kid. She really, really came to play. She was flat out a warrior at both ends of the floor. …. She also jumped in the lane and got a couple steals in our (2-2-1) press.”
Bath (20-5) will meet Toledo Rogers in the regional semifinals at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at Ohio Northern.
“It was awesome the last couple of years to go there (to the regionals) and that was the goal to get back there, and hopefully go farther,” Ruhe said.
On several occasions this season Ruhe has had to battle to get the ball through sagging zones and against double-teams. Overall, she’s averaging 14 points, 8.5 rebounds and two blocks. For the second straight year, she was named the Western Buckeye League Player of the Year.
Last year Ruhe was a major force as a junior in guiding the Wildkittens to the state tournament. She averaged 14 points per game and was named special mention all-state.
Bath lost in the 2012 state semifinals to Millersburg West Holmes, 35-29.
By then, she had committed to play basketball Division II powerhouse Ashland.
However, looking at it long term, she didn’t see her future in college basketball. She told Ashland that she no longer wanted to play college basketball.
Instead, she chose to go to Bowling Green State University and to not play any varsity sports, including tennis — a sport she reached the state tournament in this past season. She said if she plays anything at BG, it will be at the intramural level.
Ruhe admitted it was a difficult decision.
“It was (tough),” she said. “I tried to decide what was best for me and what I wanted to do in the future and which college would be best for it. I definitely had to think about it a lot. … I’m going to major in speech pathology, and I definitely want to concentrate on academics.”
So during this whole tournament run, Ruhe takes the floor knowing her next game may be the final time she plays meaningful basketball.
“I’m going out there every day like it’s your last one,” Ruhe said. “You really want to leave it on the court because you know you’re not going to be in this situation again.”