photo courtesy James Tate
Sowards emerges as leader for Royals
Roy Royals senior team captain Elijah Sowards looks to make an impact for his team in any way he can. The Royals lean on Sowards for scoring, rebounding, and being the leader of this year’s team. Sowards wants to win for this team and get better each time they are on the court.
“Our team goals for this season is to become region champs and also to surprise everyone in the playoffs,” said Sowards.” “I want to play at a very high level and play my role for the team.” Sowards has taken this early basketball season by storm and his game is at a new level by averaging 22.8 points and 11 rebounds per game.
This is an improvement from his junior year in which he scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds per game. He also has stepped up on defense by being a rim protector and taking charges when the opportunity presents itself.
“I worked on scoring around the rim and becoming more of an offensive threat,” said Sowards.” “Post moves and slashing were the main objectives this summer regarding getting better.”
Improved fundamentals and overall game
Sowards traveled with his Amateur Athletic Union team, Cache Valley Elite to different tournaments over the summer. Sowards credits this team for his improvement. “We went to California, Nevada, Seattle, and Idaho for tournaments,” said Sowards. “I also played a lot of summer ball with Roy. “If I wasn’t in a tournament or at a game I would be training with my dad,” said Sowards. “He would help me with the fundamentals of the game and getting a lot better.”
The Royals are a team that will not back down from challenges and expects to be the tougher team. Head coach Scott Hunt knows this starts with defense and the inside presence of Sowards as well as the entire team playing hard on defense is key to winning games. “We are a very gritty, tenacious defensive team,” said Hunt.” “We have team speed and quickness and utilize that on the defensive end.”
Leadership and inspiration
Sowards leadership and inspiring play will have the Royals competing for the region title this year. Sowards inspiration to get better and his work ethic is drawn from his older brother, Dimetrios. “We were only 11 months apart in age,” said Sowards. “He passed away at 16 years old in 2020.” “He has been disabled his whole life and never got any chances to go after his dreams,” said Sowards. “So that has always motivated me to get better every day for him.”
The Royals Rowdies student section is one of the loudest in the area in cheering on the Royals at every home game. “I love it so much, said Sowards.” “They get me so pumped when they are cheering us on.” “I really appreciate them for taking time out of their night to come to watch us play, ” said Sowards. “Our Royal fans are the best!”
Sowards plans to play college basketball after he graduates next summer. Colleges are beginning to take notice of his outstanding ability on the court as well as in the classroom. With his drive, inspiration, and work ethic the sky is the limit for Sowards.
photo courtesy James Tate of Elijah Sowards