It's the time of year to be grateful for family, and few are more grateful for it right now than those in charge of Chickasha High School basketball.
That's because it will carry on a legacy left by EJ Golightly and Joey Sylvester, who as seniors last year were a big part of the Fightin' Chicks' state semifinal playoff run. Now their sisters, Dominique Golightly and Taylor Sylvester, are performing similar tasks for the girls team, and as sophomores they have many more years to give to a program hopeful of bigger and better things.
"I think we need to make it to state this year," Taylor Sylvester said. "I think we can do it. From last year, we've got a whole new starting five and we work good together."
The girls have had some great examples to follow. Both EJ and Joey have continued playing basketball at Murray State, but the siblings stay in touch as much as possible. For the Golightlys, basketball is the basis of a particularly strong bond.
"Before every game — his and mine — we’re always talking to each other, telling each other to go out there, do our best and don't worry about anything else," Dominique said. "Basketball is an every day thing between me and EJ."
Like their older brothers, the girls are starting to show their abilities to contribute in a big way. Dominique was named All Conference as a freshman last season. She scored in double-digits in three of the first five games this season, including a double-double against Putnam City West with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
This season, Golightly's reputation precedes her. She is the only underclassman named on the Oklahoman's Preseason All-State team for class 5A. A crowd of older players is not something new to her, Golightly said. When she began basketball in pre-kindergarten, she played with her brother EJ and other third graders.
"I've always played up, so I'm used to having to go against stronger people at a younger age," she said. "I always know what to expect, so I'm just trying to go out there and do my best in all quarters of the game."
Sylvester, who stands at 6' 4" — an inch less than her brother Joey — led the team in blocks as a freshman last year. She opened the season with 11 points against Douglass, and later had eight points and eight rebounds in a win over Durant. The sophomore said she's finding life a little more difficult this season as teams have become more aware of the threat she poses down low on both sides of the ball.
"I get double-teamed a lot," Sylvester said. "I'm having to improve my outside shot, and I'm having to do moves now. I think at the beginning of [last year], I wasn't ready for varsity. But as the year kept going and I was playing with the seniors, that got me ready."
Growing up in basketball together has given the Golightlys and the Sylvesters a way to relate that few siblings can. While it has brought them together, the sport has at the same time allowed each player to carve a path for themselves and establish a legacy that is truly their own.
"I think I have my own game," Golightly said. "I say that because I can take from how he played, but go out there and do my own thing."