By DAVID HUNTER, The Cannon Courier
The Cannon County boys basketball team finished off a historic regular season last week with a 11-game winning streak, which help them win the District 8-AA title with a 24-5, 13-1 record.
One of the main reasons for the success of the Lions this season was the play of senior Josh Ruehlen, who earned the District 8-AA Player of Year honors. However, Ruehlen and the rest of the team has bigger goals in mind this season.
"It meant a lot, but we are focused on winning district as a team," Ruehlen said before practice last week. "I am thankful I got chosen for that honor, but I much rather win a district championship as a team."
Ruehlen led a group of five seniors, who helped the Lions achieve one of the best seasons in recent program history. All of five of them were selected for various end of season awards last week. Jacob Nave was selected All-District First Team, while Garrett McReynolds was named to the Third Team. Marshall McReynolds and AJ Daniel were named honorable mention along with junior Austin Martin. Martin and Daniel was also selected to the All-Defensive Team.
Along with Ruehlen, CCHS head coach Matt Rigsby believes the senior leadership was the main reason for the success of the team this season.
"They have brought so much senior leadership to this program," Rigsby, who was named District 8-AA Coach of the Year last week, said. "We just do not want to be successful this year, we want to keep it going for years to come. We want those guys to be vocal to the younger guys and have the work ethic trickle down. Ruehlen exemplifies what that leadership looks like. He has been able to take over ball games at times, and yet he is still leading the team is assists. He is an all-around player."
What has made this team, so good this season Rigsby believes is the gym rat mentally of each of them, and Ruehlen is one of the main reasons why for the success. However, he does have somewhat of a life off the court. He enjoys playing golf, even though he thinks his game could be better, and he also mostly plays sports video games on his Playstation4.
As for future college plans, he wants to major in business accounting or management. However, his main focus is helping continue the Lions historic season starting with the district and region tournament this week.
"It's been great, it's my senior year, and came in knowing we could be good," Ruehlen said. "We put the time and work in, and it's been great having this much success."
Rigsby added, "Ruehlen is just another one in the mix of great kids. He is a great student, and he donates his time to our junior pro program. I have known him since he was five years old, and it has been fun to watch Ruehlen grow up."