Chesney Gardner makes it official, signs with USC Aiken

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News

Six days before the Warlassies were set to open the 2018 season on the road against Erwin, Chesney Gardner made her college commitment official.

Chesney Gardner signs a letter of intent to play college basketball for University of South Carolina Aiken on Nov. 14.

Surrounded by family and friends in the gym in which she’s scored many of her 1,287 career points, Gardner signed a letter of intent to play basketball at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

Gardner announced her decision to play college basketball for the NCAA Division II Pacers in October. Owen held a ceremony for the signing on Nov. 14.  

Family and friends celebrate with Owen High School senior Chesney Gardner after she signed a letter of intent to play basketball at USC Aiken.

Athletic director Anthony Lee congratulated Gardner on earning the opportunity to play basketball at the next level. 

"We also want to thank you and your family for contributing to Owen High School athletics for many years," Lee said. "Another Gardner will go on and continue to display their athletic skills, this one at USC Aiken. We're excited for you."

After extended applause from the dozens in attendance, Gardner addressed her supporters. 

"I'd like to thank God first, because he got me here, but also my family because they've taken me to millions of basketball tournaments all over the place," she said. "I also appreciate all of my friends, teammates and coaches who told me to always pursue my dream and push through no matter what. I couldn't have done this without you guys. Thank you."

Gardner has started for the varsity Warlassies since her freshman season, when she averaged 15.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. She's played 80 games for Owen and is averaging 16.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for her career. 

Last season she averaged a career-high 17 points per game as the Warlassies won 20 games for the first time in over a decade. Six seniors from that roster graduated this summer, leaving Gardner as one of only three seniors this year. 

The Warlassies opened the season on the road against the Warriors on Nov. 20.

Owen welcomes T.C. Roberson on Tuesday, Nov. 27 for their first home game of the season.