1976 was a memorable year for many reasons. It was our country’s founding bicentennial, and many patriotic events occurred. For Lehi residents, it was also the year Lehi High School won a state championship in basketball. It was the first time since 1922 that Lehi High School won another state championship. Lehi had always been a contender, but the elusive title was always just a few points beyond reach.
One of the contributing factors in winning the title was the presence of foreign exchange student Evaristo Soares. Soares was living in Lehi with Dr. Kent and Lois Davis. Coach Scott Iverson recruited the 6’10” Brazilian. For two years, Soares dominated in almost all categories. In the Lehi High School record book, he ranks third in overall points scored in a single game, scoring 44 against Carbon High School. He was second in average points with a 23.3 average. He earned first and second in rebounds, fifth in overall points with 854, and first in career rebounds.
Soares went on to play for Pepperdine and in the European Professional Basketball League, playing for Portugal. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting while at Pepperdine. After a stint as a professional basketball player, he returned to the United States to start his own business. He now lives in Florida.
On Saturday, February 25th, the Davis family hosted an open house for Soares. After 47 years, old teammates, classmates, and friends wanted to reconnect with their basketball hero, but more importantly, their friend. Over 40 people came to reminisce and enjoy visiting Soares and each other.
Kent Davis said, “Lehi people, school administration, students, and the whole area welcomed Soares with open arms. He was everybody’s ‘Gentle Giant’!” Now, at 65, Soares appreciates the Davis family even more. He calls Lois and Kent “Mom and Dad.” He calls Lois on Mother’s Day and the family on Christmas. “He is a very humble and appreciative second son. We would have loved to adopt him,” said Lois.