Liberty's Ruch does it all and scores too Overachiever: The 165-pounder knows how to beat bigger opponents whether it's to get to the quarterback or to a rebound.

January 19, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Liberty basketball coach Scott Kohr went on and on about starting forward Eddie Ruch until he finally came up with the best way to describe him.

"Eddie's the kind of kid who loves to take a charge," Kohr said.

The senior is always up for a good battle.

On the football field this past fall, the lanky 6-foot-4, 165-pound defensive end constantly beat bigger offensive linemen, getting to the quarterback seven times for sacks and earning first-team All-County honors. "I'm small compared to those tackles, but I'm faster, so I just had to beat them to the spot," he said.

Ruch's frame appears to be better suited for the basketball court, but more times than not he's giving away plenty of pounds against his inside adversaries.

Again Ruch simply states it's just a matter of him doing his job. "You have to block out for rebounding. If you get him blocked out, you're winning the battle," he said.

Kohr relies on Ruch to do a little of everything. Grab some rebounds, play the tight defense, dive to the floor, set a few picks -- Ruch does it all and has also found a pretty good scoring touch. The Lions are 5-4 after their 72-65 victory over North

Carroll on Wednesday and Ruch is averaging 10 points a game and seven rebounds.

"Eddie is one of the scrappiest players I've ever coached," Kohr said. "He's a blue-collar worker who will do everything he possibly can to make our team better."

It also sounds like the making of a pretty good fireman, something Ruch plans to do after graduation.

"I've been a volunteer at Sykesville for two years," Ruch said. "My dad is the chief and I just want to carry over the reign. It's something I've always wanted to do."

For now, Ruch's attention is directed toward helping Liberty win games. It wasn't always that way. He didn't make the freshman team but came back as a sophomore to make the junior varsity and has spent his past two years on varsity.

"He's come the farthest in four years than anyone I've seen," said Kohr. "Between his freshman and sophomore year he matured a little physically. Once the door was open, he made the most of it."

By now, you would think nothing from Ruch would surprise Kohr, but that's not the case.

"His offensive input has been a tremendous surprise, and we're counting on it now, too," Kohr said. "We knew what he would bring us defensively, but his offense has been a plus. He's also turned into a pretty good shot blocker."

All the points, rebounds and other statistics don't mean much to Ruch, who said a lot of confidence carried over from Liberty's most productive football season ever. The Lions finished 8-2.

"I like to play to win," he said. "That's why I come to play. That and having fun."

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