Mariah Ruff Named Gym Rat All-Star at prestigious Albany hoop tournament

By John Bernhardt
Mariah Ruff of Andes was granted all-star status in the 14-and-under bracket of the prestigious Albany Gym Rat Challenge.

The Gym Rat Challenge is a national girls’ AAU tournament and one of the premiere girls’ basketball venues in the Northeast. Forty teams participated in the 14-and-under age group with Ruff running the point for the Catskill Mountain AAU club.

A Gym Rat press release announcing the all-star selections described Ruff as a true floor general who also has a nice outside shooting touch. A creative and accurate passer, Ruff has the requisite ball and dribble skills. The 5’4” guard plays with fire and determination and is a dedicated player who aspires to play at a high level.

Ruff’s selection was even more impressive in light of the fact that her team failed to make the cut as one of the final 12 teams. The Catskill Mountain team lost its opening round game to a talented team from Virginia. Trailing by one basket at halftime, the local team faced a wall of defense in the second half eventually falling by 23 points. Ruff led her team with nine points.

Things improved during the second game of the tournament as the Catskill Mountain team downed a team from Long Island. Ruff scored 14 points for the winners who overcame the strong inside play of another all-star, 6’4,” Rebecca Gordon and won going away by over 20 points.

To make the final cut, the Catskill Mountain squad would need to upset the defending National Champions in their age bracket, a team from the Bronx. With Ruff nailing six three-point bombs and scoring 20 points, the local squad was almost up to the task. Ruff’s long-range arsenal was not enough as the Catskill Mountain gang eventually dropped an eight-point decision.

Ruff averaged over 14 points a game in the three Catskill Mountain contests. Her ball handling skills, scoring performances, and all around spirited play earned her a place on the all-tournament team of the Gym Rat Challenge.