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Girls Athlete of the Week: Flowery Branch's Tavia Sykes
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Honor Roll

Kaitlyn Duncan, Banks County: Tallied 23 points in a win against East Jackson last Friday.

Carly Gilreath, Dawson County: Scored 29 total points in two games against Lumpkin County last week.

Taylor Handte, Lakeview: Had 14 points against Johnson last Tuesday.

Maegan Kenimer, Chestatee: Recorded 16 points and seven rebounds in a win against Pickens last Tuesday.

Schyler Miller, Lakeview: Scored 15 points against Commerce last Saturday.

Danielle Morgan, Lakeview: Had 17 points in a win against Lumpkin County last Friday.

Sheyenne Seabolt, Dawson County: Tallied 24 total points in two wins against Lumpkin County last week.

Julianne Sutton, North Georgia Christian: Recorded 19 points and 17 rebounds in a win against Horizon Christian Last Monday.

The Flowery Branch Lady Falcons have learned that whenever times are rough or things “start going awry,” the team can count on senior point guard Tavia Sykes to take over and make a difference both on the court and on the sideline.

Although Sykes is an experienced player for the Falcons, taking a leadership role and becoming a player the team relies on has been difficult for her.

“It’s not easy for her,” Flowery Branch coach Hazel Hall said, “we kind of have to force her into it.”

When forced, however, Hall said Sykes transforms from a quiet, passive, skilled player into a vocal, talented leader who can carry her team to victory, as is evidenced by her play against Salem, Loganville and East Hall last week.

Sykes tallied 69 points in the three games, including a career-high 30 points in the 42-27 victory against Loganville.

For her efforts, Sykes is The Times Girls Athlete of the Week.

Sykes said the outcome of the Loganville game in no way matched the beginning.

“Loganville was very slow the first three quarters,” Sykes said. “It was very close the whole game, and it shouldn’t have been. We just couldn’t score. We had no rhythm, and I remember looking up and thinking if we don’t do something fast, we’re going to lose.”

So, Sykes took matters into her own hands and scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lady Falcons to victory. The numbers show that she is progressing even more skill-wise from the end of last season, when she averaged 14.5 points per game and 5.5 rebounds. Now, just three games into the season, Sykes averages 23 points and nine rebounds per game. Still, Sykes said that scoring isn’t the first thing on her mind when she’s on the court.

“I really don’t think about scoring,” Sykes said. “It feels almost like I’ve scored the same as last year. I think its because of the leadership role I’m in.”

When Sykes saw the statistics at the end of the Loganville game, she was awestruck.

“It was almost, like, unbelievable,” Sykes said. “I couldn’t picture that I had 30 points. It just shows me that it’s not impossible.”

These skills are not a surprise to Hall, though, who said that the younger players look up to Sykes because they see what she can do on and off the court.

“She has a good feel for the game most of the time,” Hall said. “She’s unselfish, she can guard, and she shoots well off the dribble.

“We talked about how she wants to play at the next level, and she just has to become a player who takes control of things.”

Sykes plans to become more of a take-over player as the season progresses but believes that her fellow seniors are strong leaders and players as well.

“Our chemistry together is almost perfect,” Sykes said. “We have great senior leadership this year.”

Even Hall notes how strong the core of seniors on the 2012-2013 team is.

“Our seniors, they could close their eyes and play together, they’ve been together for so long,” Hall said. “They are the heart and soul of what we do. They all have different skill sets. They’re the ones that make us go.”

Sykes and the rest of the team have goals of making a deep postseason run later this season, but right now, Sykes only has one thing on her mind.

“We want to win Lanierland this year for sure,” Sykes said. “It’s basically my last chance. I need to just do everything right.”

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