Owens helps Timothy Christian score win over West Chicago
Timothy Christian's Matt Owens put on an offensive show Friday.
The senior point guard buried shots from all over the court, hitting 3-pointers from numerous spots, canning pull-up midrange jumpers and attacking the basket for layups.
But Owens missed the one shot that attracted the most attention from the sparse post-holiday afternoon crowd -- his 3-pointer from just past midcourt at the end of the first-quarter buzzer.
"I turned my head and didn't even know it went in," Owens said, laughing. "The shot kept my form going, so I held it up a bit and turned my head and then heard everybody screaming. I didn't even know if it counted."
It didn't count, with Owens flinging the long-range shot after the buzzer.
Owens made nearly every other shot count, scoring 12 of his game-high 26 points in the first quarter to lead the Trojans to a 57-46 win over West Chicago in the 32nd annual Chuck Mitchell Thanksgiving Tournament.
The Trojans (3-0) advanced to Saturday's 7 p.m. championship game against Fenton or Rolling Meadows.
Owens set the stage for a prolific scoring effort by scoring 7 early points to spark the Trojans to a 13-0 lead.
Timothy Christian coach Scott Plaisier said Owens is becoming a well-rounded player this season. Owens buried four 3-pointers, three of which came in the first half to stake the Trojans to a 36-19 lead.
"(Matt's) always had a lot of talent, but it's about fostering that with some maturity," Plaisier said. "That's what you are seeing now. He's really mature. He knows what he wants to do on the court. He does a great job leading the team, doing a great job scoring when we need a bucket. He has a lot of confidence in himself right now, feels like he can make a shot whenever. When you think the ball is going in every time, that's a good feeling.
"He doesn't have to do it all by himself but rather play in the scope of what we're trying to get done. That's what he's learned well this year."
The 5-foot-10 Owens said the Trojans are hoping to build off their impressive three-game start, which could only help his recruiting.
"This is a really big statement," Owens said. "I've been recruited by some small schools, mostly Division II and III. I'm just trying to get my name out there. Hopefully, going far with my team is a good platform for me."
The Wildcats (0-3) experienced the same issues that perplexed Fremd and Wheaton Warrenville South earlier in the tourney: How to stop Owens and forward Josh Harris.
When Owens wasn't hitting jumpers or attacking the lane, the 6-foot-4 Harris was cleaning up for baskets in the lane or running the court for layups. Harris, a junior, scored 12 points in limited playing time.
"Me and Matt have been playing since second grade together," Harris said. "We've known each other well and have a good connection. He really opens up the floor. When he drives, I'm wide open and that helps the team."
West Chicago (0-3) rebounded from a disastrous first quarter to cut the gap to eight points early in the fourth quarter before another scoring surge by the Trojans. The Wildcats made seven 3-pointers, led by Jacob Lim's 13 points and three 3s.
"We outscored them 27-21 in the second half, but we came out flat and on our heels and without the fire we had in the first two games," West Chicago coach Bill Recchia said. "That's a good team. You can't spot a good team a 17-point lead."