GRANITE CITY - Granite City senior Emily Sykes was a key throughout the 2023-2024 season for the young Warriors. Often she not only handled the ball, but was a key under the basket.

Emily SykesSykes led the team with averages of 12.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, adding on 33 assists, 70 steals, and 33 blocked shots.

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Sykes marked the end of her basketball career last week and now will move on to track and field where she is a top shot put and discus thrower statewide. She was also an outstanding volleyball player this past fall.

Sykes said the Warriors went out "kind of scared" of the Alton Redbirds girls, who are ranked high in the state "and it kind of showed in the first half. "

"But after halftime, we kind of picked up the pace, and scored a couple of points," she said. "They were by far the better team, but we fought our heart out there, and I believe the seniors left their heart out there."

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The Warriors were indeed a very young team, with three freshmen among the starters, but there's a very good future ahead for the club.

"I do agree," Sykes said. 'We have three freshmen who were on varsity this year, who will do great things with the other freshmen in coming years."

There's so much to look forward to from Warriors' girls basketball in 2024-25.

"Correct," Sykes said. "I can't wait to come back and watch my little sister (Megan) play," she said. "We went through a tough time, but I fully believe that these girls who are going to be seniors, juniors next year will turn it around.

"I can't wait to see how the three freshmen (Kailee Basteen, Tyhlee Simms, and Lhailone Douglas) on varsity improve, and the soon-to-be young senior (Makayla Tanksley), I can't wait to see how she does next year. And Emily's sister is very inspiring, too. And she's going become a junior on varsity, and I'm excited to see what everybody does. Granite City's future's bright!"

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