High school boys basketball: Roy Royals hang on for 63-57 win over the Granger Lancers in Region 2 contest

High school boys basketball: Roy Royals hang on for 63-57 win over the Granger Lancers in Region 2 contest

by James Tate

Elijah Sowards dominates the first half for the Royals

Sowards, a senior, scored 17 of his game-high 30 points in the first half for the Royals. Sowards’s strong start was matched by the Lancer’s three-point shooting of seniors Isaac Begay and Qani Abdi. Begay and Abdi each made three, three-pointers in the first half. The Royals’ pressure defense caused turnovers, but Granger found open shooters and took a 19-18 lead early in the second quarter.

Sowards left the game briefly in the second quarter and the Lancers’ lead grew to 22-18 with 5:50 left before halftime. With 3:23 before halftime, the Lancers were called for a technical after committing a hard foul. The Royals took a 29-24 lead after senior Bronson Belnap made three foul shots. A last-second made three-point shot by Granger’s Begay narrowed Royal’s lead to 35-34 at halftime.

Second half: Granger comes back

Sowards continued to be a force on both ends of the court starting the third quarter. Sowards scored nine points in the quarter and led a defense that held the Lancers to 10 points in the quarter. The Royals led 52-39 with 2:24 left in the third quarter. The third quarter ended with a driving layup by Lancer’s sophomore guard Isaiah Gukeisen making the score 52-44.

The Lancers continued to move closer with the score 58-51 before Sowards alertness on defense forced an offensive foul. The momentum quickly shifted back to Granger after they forced a Roy missed shot. Then a three-point basket was made by Abdi to make the score 58-54 with 2:05 left in the game.

The Lancers made the score 58-55 with a free throw by junior Daudi Aweyso with 1:52 remaining. After a Lancer turnover, Sowards made a layup to put the Royals up 60-55 with 42 seconds left. Aweyso made two free throws for Granger and Belnap made three free throws for Roy for a final of 63-57 and Royal’s victory.

Outstanding performances

The Lancers saw four players score in double figures, Begay and Abdi had 13 points each. Aweyso scored 11 points and junior Cason Fleischel scored 10 points in the game.

For Roy, Sowards’ game-high 30 points and 11 rebounds, give him four double-double games this season. Bronson Belnap scored 18 points and made clutch free throws for the Royals. Overall great defense by junior Corben Schuffenhauer and senior Beau Belnap helped seal the win for Roy.

photo courtesy James Tate of Royal’s Bronson Belnap defending Lancer’s Isaiah Gukeisen

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