NEWARK VALLEY, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – The Newark Valley Girls Basketball team was one of the most dominant in Section IV this year, going undefeated on their way to a section title.

The leader of this great Cardinals team, Cha Gardner, has been voted as our Tioga State Bank, NewsChannel 34 Sports, Winter MVP.

Gardner, one of the most impactful players in Section IV basketball, aided Newark Valley in their incredible season.

A dominant center that controls the paint on offense and defense, Gardner went out on the court looking to do her part for her team and enjoy playing the game of basketball.

“My first thing I’m thinking is, do the job,” Gardner said. “Then once the job is complete, then I just have fun with it, because it is a game.”

Gardner first joined the Varsity team when she was in 8th grade, playing a crucial role for the Cardinals ever since.

Head Coach Greg Schweiger explained what makes Gardner a special basketball player.

“The first thing is her physicality and her athleticism,” Schweiger said. “But that only takes you so far. For Cha, it’s always been her aggressiveness, her willing to work.”

Those traits that make her great, really show in specific areas of the game, on defense and on the boards.

Areas which Gardner explained are her greatest strengths.

“My defense for sure,” Gardner said. “I love playing defense, it’s my favorite part of the game. Especially blocking and rebounding.”

Skill is not the only part of Gardner’s impact, her leadership on the court shows as well, with Schweiger trusting her to lead the way on the defensive end of the court.

“I said early in the season, I stopped coaching defense for this team because Cha runs it,” Schweiger said.

That incredible defense helped Gardner and the Cardinals have a phenomenal season, one that the team’s accomplishments will be what stands out to Gardner when she looks back on the year.

“Going undefeated for the year, minus the last game of course,” Gardner said. “But, there was a lot of people who had doubt in our group, especially after last years very successful run. A lot of people didn’t think we were gonna get as far, so when we did, I just took a lot of pride in that.”

Gardner mentioned that she does want to play basketball at the next level when the time comes.

She is still a Junior though, so she has one year left in a Newark Valley uniform, she did mention that the team is working hard to get ready for next year as well.

Congratulations to Cha and her entire team on all that they have accomplished this season.