Southeast of Saline’s Eli Sawyers – “Image Maker” Student Athlete of the Month Presented by Salina Imaging Center

Expectations are always high at the start of a season. Then typically things settle in and teams get into a groove after some ups and downs early on. Eli Sawyers and the Southeast of Saline basketball team experienced a little of that early on, but they continued to improve and are playing together and looking more like a seasoned team.

“We started off the season pretty slow. Going into Christmas we were just 2-4. I think we have played tougher since then, but we need to bring intensity every game,” said Sawyers. “I think we are more of a get out and go team. We like to get out on the break and score. We need to do this more often. I think we are becoming closer as a team, and we are much more gelled since we started the season.” 

Sawyers and his teammates continue to make improvements which are helping them down the stretch. Keeping games close and scoring in crucial moments are two areas they continue to step up in. Sawyers said he’s proud of the team and the way they have competed. 

“I’ve been proud of the way we have hung in most of our games. We couldn’t finish all of them which would be something to improve on. I also like the way we can score when we are an unselfish team and pass the ball well,” said Sawyers. 

One game stands out to Sawyers this season and helped set the tone for the rest of the season. 

“I think the Minneapolis game coming out of Christmas was big. We were able to beat a ranked and undefeated team. It was just what we needed coming back from Christmas break,” said Sawyers. “We have been pressing more, and putting more pressure on teams. I think this is an adjustment because when people trap, others have to come help stop the ball.” 

Sawyers said his teammates are everything to him. He loves playing with this group of guys. 

“My teammates mean a lot to me. I would not have the stats that I do without teammates like Nakari and Camden. The team is what I play for. I play for a win every night. This team means everything to me,” said Sawyers. 

Once basketball season comes to an end, Sawyers and many of his teammates will look to spring sports. But Sawyers plans to play spring basketball instead of running track and plans to hit the weight room to get stronger. He said his mother Amber has been a big influence on him and she knows a thing or two about basketball as well. 

“I think my mom is really the biggest influence. We are very close, she also played college basketball, and always tells me when I need to play better, or when I have been playing very well,” said Sawyers.