Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 13, 2013

Owens wraps up basketball career with state honors


WOODLAWN — Gabe Owens spent his postseason gathering up several basketball honors.

The Woodlawn guard was named to the Associated Press All-State second team. The Illinois Basketball Coaches’ Associated named him to its third team All-State, and he was also recognized as the Midland Trail Conference’s Most Valuable Player.

“It’s nice getting those awards and everything, but it’s all because of the team I played on this year,” Owens said. “I wouldn’t have been able to get those awards without everybody else and having a great coach like coach (Shane) Witzel and my dad (Scott Owens) as an assistant coach.”

Owens finished his career at Woodlawn as a state champion and holder of several career records to go with the postseason awards from this season.

“He’s very deserving in any accolades that he’s gotten, and he’s everything you want in a coach,” Witzel said. “He’s talented. He’s hard working. He’s a good teammate. So those things are all things that make you better as an individual and better as a team.”

The senior finished his Woodlawn career with four school records. He’s the leader in career 3-pointers made (270), 3-pointers in a single game (10), career free throw percentage (86.5) and free throw percentage in a single season (88). He ended ninth on the school’s career list for points (1,413) and assists (303).

Over the past three seasons with Owens in the starting lineup, the Cardinals never lost more than five games in a single season. This season the Cardinals finished 26-4 and advanced to the sectional semifinals before losing to Oblong.

“We didn’t have the happy ending, but we still had a great season, and I was really glad and proud of the team for how well we played throughout some of the tougher games throughout the season,” Owens said.

Owens helped the Cardinals rally back from a big deficit in the final minute of the Oblong game but ultimately the Cardinals fell short. Owens suffered a broken finger late in the game and is wearing a cast on his left hand.

“Thanks to my arm I think about (the Oblong game) just about every night,” Owens said. “I go to bed, and I have to look at it, and I have to deal with it everyday throughout my daily routine.”

Next winter, Owens will compete for Washington University near St. Louis. The Division III school is the same one his father Scott attended. Owens said he was already familiar with the campus because of his dad. Witzel added Owens’ best basketball could come at the college level.

“I think he’s scratching the surface of what kind of player he’s going to become because physically he hasn’t grown into his body yet, and all of the skills are there it’s just a matter of him continuing to improve,” the Woodlawn coach said.