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On a tear, Warhorses win fourth straight

Owen gets big games from Ben Craig and Mathew Brown in home win over Enka

Fred McCormick
fred@blackmountainnews.com

The Owen Warhorses rode a hot start Dec. 1 to their fourth win in a row - a 75-67 victory at home over the Enka Jets.

Head coach Chuck Robinson wasn’t sure when the last time the Warhorses started a season with a 4-game winning streak. He said "it’s been awhile.”

Senior center Mathew Brown recorded his fourth double-double in as many games in the victory, scoring 22 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. He’s averaging 21.5 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Senior Mathew Brown scores 2 of his 22 points against Enka in Owen's fourth straight win to open the season. Brown had 12 rebounds on the night.

Junior guard Ben Craig led Owen in scoring with 29 points. He also recorded 6 assists and 5 steals.

Ben Craig fends off an Enka defender in the Warhorses' fourth straight win to open the season. Craig led Owen with 29 points against the Jets.

Enka presented a challenge for the Warhorses, Robinson said. But he was impressed with the composure of his players.

“It wasn’t our best game of the season,” he said. “But our guys didn’t get rattled, they hung in there and held on for the win.”

Senior forward Brian Bartlett added 7 points and 6 rebounds against the Jets, but injuries kept him well below his season average of 18 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

Brian Bartlett watches his shot as it goes through the hoop against the Enka Jets.

The Owen defense relies heavily on pressing its opponents to disrupt the offense, but they need to continue to improve on that side of the ball, Robinson said.

"We were a little late getting to the ball on the press," he said. "Enka was able to break the press fairly easy, and that's something I want to see us work on."

Robinson and his team will have a chance to test their defense on Tuesday, Dec. 6, when they host Reynolds, a team the Warhorses beat 75-69 in the second game of the season.

Outside of a 30-point victory over the Asheville Trailblazers on Nov. 22, the Warhorses' remaining victories have all been by 8 points or fewer. Robinson said opponents are likely to prepare harder to face his squad, which is the only remaining unbeaten team in the Western Highlands Conference.

"I told the boys that teams won't be laying down for us," he said. "We don't want to get complacent. We've got to keep working harder."