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From Eagle to Raven

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Cambridge City Lincoln’s Allie Owens takes a shot in a home game against Muncie Burris last November. Owens, a 2019 LHS graduate, will continue her playing days at AndersonUniversitythis year.
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Cambridge City Lincoln’s Allie Owens dribbles past a Winchester player in a sectional game on Feb. 6, 2016. Owens will play college basketball this season as a member of the Anderson Lady Ravens.
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Flanked by parents Misty and Jerry Ingalls, Cambridge City Lincoln senior Allie Owens signs her letter-of-intent to play basketball at Anderson University.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

CAMBRIDGE CITY — Ask former Cambridge City Lincoln player Allie Owens why she loves the game of basketball so much, and she’ll tell you that she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t playing it.

“Basketball has been a part of me for my entire life,” she says.

That isn’t just a cliche.

From her days as a three-year-old, playing in the living room with her father, the game has never been far removed from her immediate schedule.

That all could have came to an end, as a diploma in hand signaled the end of her high school playing days in June.

Fortunately for her, however, that was not the case.

Owens has signed a letter-of-intent to continue dribbling and shooting, this time for Anderson University.

“I could have also chosen Dominican University in Chicago, or Manchester (Indiana),” she said. “Anderson was a much better fit for me, however.”

There were plenty of reasons she listed for her choice.

“It’s closer to home, and yet, still far enough away that I can feel like I have gotten away,” she began. “I also know a girl that’s already there, and we are really close friends. I met the other girls on the team and they are extremely friendly.”

But there was one other reason, one that is important to the 19-year-old.

“The head coach there, Lindsay Shade, is very experienced, but I also like her sense of humor,” Owens said with a smile, adding, “I don’t want to play for a coach who can’t take my jokes.”

Whether Owens’ nature as a cut-up is something she was born with, well, only she knows the answer to that.

But, it’s a given that her basketball skill is something that is the result of years of playing.

And it all started only a few years after she was born.

“I played with my dad on one of those children’s hoops only a few feet off the ground, using a small foam ball,” she said.

That might have been good enough for the young Allie Owens ... but not for the older version.

By the time she was in third grade, she was into competitive basketball, spending many hours on courts in the area refining her skills.

“I played in the Boys and Girls Club in downtown Connersville all the time,” she recalled as one of those venues.

By sixth grade, Owens had stepped things up again, this time signing on with an AAU team. In the years that would follow, she would suit up for teams with names like Team Elite, Indy Gym Rats, and Flight New Vision.

Then, as a freshman at Cambridge City Lincoln High School, she had an epiphany.

“It was about then that I started thinking that I could play this game beyond high school,” she said. “I got off to a quick start that year, and it was then that I began to try to impress coaches every time I went out.

It wasn’t until two years later that she found out that schools were indeed taking notice.

“In my junior year, (college) coaches began talking to me,” she said.

While Owens says that she’ll give all she can to the Lady Ravens in the coming years, she also points out that the college game is going to give her something even bigger in return.

“Basketball is important, but I’m playing the game for things like a good education and a strong career once it’s over,” she said. “For that reason, school work will be the most important thing.”

No road as difficult as the one that Owens has traveled is ever easy, but she will tell you that she’s had plenty of guidance while on that avenue.

“First, I really have to thank my mom, my dad, and step-dad for all that they have done,” she said. “I also need to thank the coaches throughout the years, people like Garry Laymon, Rob Bills, Jeff Mullin, and everyone in AAU.”

From dunking that foam basketball in the living room to shooting 3-pointers in high school sectional play, Owens isn’t sure she would have done anything different.

But then, with her dream of playing college basketball just on the horizon, why would she?

And if she was to give someone younger, perhaps a girl on the same road she has traveled, advice?

“Start playing travel basketball as soon as you possibly can, there is so much out there to learn,” she said. “Be committed to it, never miss a practice. I cannot remember ever missing a practice, unless I had a medical reason for it. 

“It’s in those practices where you’re going to improve and find your game.”

It’s sound advice, proven by the fact that it certainly did work for her.

Not only did Owens find her game, but she’s also found where she will be playing it next.

That will be in Anderson, Indiana.