LOWELL, Mass. – Following the playoff opener against Holliston, Foxboro coach Lisa Downs mentioned that some of the players looked a little nervous in the first quarter. It was a reminder that for most of Foxboro’s roster, tournament basketball was a new experience. In particular, Downs mentioned sophomore center Addie Ruter, who was getting her first taste of the postseason, looked tight at the start of the game.
Luckily for the Warriors, it only took Ruter a few minutes to shake that off.
Throughout a playoff run that culminated in Saturday night’s 73-53 victory against Dracut at the Tsongas Center, Foxboro has counted on the 6-foot-3 Ruter to provide matchup problems for their opponents and relieve the pressure on the dynamic backcourt of Camryn Collins and Kailey Sullivan. Each night, she has produced.
In five playoff games, Ruter finished with five double-doubles, averaging 18 points and 14 rebounds per game.
“I’m getting more used to it,” Ruter said about the rigors of the playoffs. “The first game was a little shaky but then the second game I just came out with a better mentality, more relaxed, and focused on my specific role on the court.”
Following Foxboro’s state title game win, Downs explained, “She’s the secret weapon that I’ve actually never had in 12 years, but few teams have. To have the scorers I do have and then you add in an inside player and it makes us a nightmare. You can’t really go to a zone because we’re going to shoot lights out and if you go to a man she’s going to beat you in there.”
Ruter’s domination of the paint started right at the beginning of the season. She scored a game-high 18 points in her varsity debut on the road at Milford, showing that the preseason hype was real.
“I worked a lot in the off-season, but I wasn’t really sure how things were going to come out and then that first game was a big confidence booster for me and then I just tried to stick with it and it was a great season,” Ruter explained.
Although she was the third-leading scorer on the Warriors in the regular season, her 14.7 points per game was seventh best in the Hockomock League.
Those numbers only grew with the stage.
In the win over Holliston, Ruter scored eight points in the second quarter and had 12 rebounds by halftime, on her way to 14 and 21 for the night. The Sweet Sixteen was Ruter at her best. With an obvious size advantage, she was unstoppable against previously unbeaten South High, scoring a career-high 31 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
“She knew she had a role,” Collins said when asked about Ruter’s contributions to the title win. “I mean, when you see her you could tell that she was an asset with her height, so I think when she came on the court and she knew she was going to have to give us some new dimension. I think she did an awesome job growing as a player. I’m so proud of her.”
In the quarterfinal rout of Chicopee, Ruter scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while adding two blocks and five assists. She was showing different aspects of her game that could help the team. Not only was she finishing around the rim and scoring on put-back attempts, but knocking down jumpers, showing off post moves, and looking secure as a focal point in the offense.
The Final Four was a real test, as Walpole’s Catie Hurley provided a physical challenge. Ruter battled, but struggled for most of the game to get into a rhythm on offense. Still, with a trip to the championship game on the line, she scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and pulled down 10 rebounds to help knock off the top seed.
On Saturday night, Ruter continued to find ways to impact the game, scoring 18 points and grabbing 15 boards, while dishing out a pair of assists. In a tough environment with a huge crowd, she was tied for the team-high in points, scoring six in the third quarter as the Warriors broke things open and put the game away.
“It was a little different to get used to but once we started getting great passes to me, great rebounding from everyone, just a great team effort, and grew in confidence as the game went on,” she said.
Downs added, “She’s fast, she’s tall, she can shoot, she does it all, and then she can also find the open player. She’s a weapon I’m happy to have for two more years.”
In the middle of the team’s celebrations after the game, Ruter was asked how it felt to be a state champion. “Amazing,” she replied. “It was a really fun ride and to end it like this was just…amazing.”
It was ride that Ruter was right at the center of and one that Foxboro hopes she’ll get the chance to experience a couple more times before her career is over.