High School Player
One of the best players in program history, Torrington High School’s Sarah Royals, was a three time Connecticut High School Coaches Association all-state pick, and still holds the career record with 1,606 points. As a senior, in 2011, she led the Red Raiders to the semifinal round of the Class L state tournament and caught the eyes of the University of Albany head coach. Her successful recruitment to Albany was followed by four straight America East Conference championships for the Great Danes, and four consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament.
“I went to watch her play, and the moment I saw her I knew she had guts, she had hard work, she was relentless, she was fearless,” then Albany coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson told The Saratogian newspaper, in a recap of Sarah's career. “She loved the game. She hated to lose. She had all the intangibles I wanted in a player.”
As Torrington's point guard, Sarah averaged 17.8 points, 5.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 steals per game over her four-year career. She led the Naugatuck Valley League in regular season scoring for three seasons, earning all-conference honors. The NVL's Outstanding Senior Girls Basketball Player and the conference's Female Athlete of the Year in 2011, Sarah was an Academic All-State Selection and was named Most Valuable Player of the CHSCA Girls' All-Star Basketball Festival. She was also an all-state soccer player, and still holds the track team's school records in the 800 meters, 300 hurdles and heptathlon!
Abrahamson-Henderson's very first recruit after being hired to take over at Albany, Sarah rewarded her coach by playing in every one of the team's 130 games over her four-year career. Finishing with 1,006 points, and a program record 462 career assists, she was named to the America East All-Academic team in 2014, and the all-tournament team in 2015. A two-time captain, Sarah graduated from Albany in 2015, double-majoring in business and art, with a concentration in marketing.
“It has given me an outlet to express myself and be competitive,” said Sarah, who watched her two older sisters, Jennifer and Michelle, play basketball for Torrington before her. “I get to share my knowledge and experience with younger girls and give back to a sport that has given me so much. I got to travel the country and play against some of the best players in the nation and got a free education from a wonderful school.”
Sarah said her dad, Raymond, was her greatest influence in the game – “his love for basketball rubbed off on me at an early age and he pushed me to be the player I am today,” she said. Sarah's dad is also a part of her fondest basketball memory, recalling that after winning her first America East title, she ran to hug her family sitting in the first row.
Sarah, a resident of Torrington, is currently an account administrator at Beazley Insurance in Farmington. She is a basketball official for IAABO Board #7 in Litchfield County. She has also enjoyed her coaching experiences in AAU, with the Connecticut Spirit, and as an assistant coach at Post University in Waterbury.