Former Dawson County High Lady Tiger Carly Gilreath will continue her basketball career at the University of South Carolina-Aiken next season under Pacer Coach Mike Brandt.
Aiken is coming off a 22-8 season and a 13-6 record in the Peach Belt Conference.
Under Brandt the Pacers are 216-117 over the past 11 seasons. Brandt has been a head coach for 24 years.
"Coach Brandt runs a Christian-based program," Gilreath said. "I love the way Coach runs his program and his coaching style. Everything they do there seems to be exactly what I was looking for in choosing a college to play [at]."
Gilreath reaped all sorts of honors in her final year at Dawson County High School. She led her team to the Class AAA final game before losing to St. Pius X. She was also named First Team All-State, Gainesville Times Player-of-the-Year and 7-AAA Player-of-the-Year.
The senior averaged 15.6 points per game, 2.6 assists and two steals per game for veteran Coach Steve Sweat. Early in the season Gilreath surpassed the 1,000-point mark.
"Coach Sweat is a really good coach. I loved playing my four years under him. We became really close during that time. He always told me to see what I'm seeing. Coach Sweat trusted me as a freshman to run the point guard position. He also helped me out getting into college," Gilreath said.
At Aiken Gilreath is likely to play the shooting guard position. She may also see some time at point guard.
"Coach Brandt has me listed as a shooting guard/point guard. He says I have to get ready to play both, but I think my main position will be shooting guard," Gilreath said.
Gilreath said the dynamic of the team was a draw for her at USC-Aiken.
"It just seemed a good fit. The players at Aiken seemed to get along well together. The goals and strategies seemed to correspond with what I was looking for, " she said.
Gilreath also had offers from Stetson University, Augusta State, Georgia State and Berry College, just to name a few.
Parents Michael and Kathy Gilreath always pushed their daughter to do her best during her playing career.
"My parents had a huge impact on my playing ability. I really appreciate them pushing me like they did. If I did something wrong, or played a bad game, they would give me an earful. My parents had to sacrifice a lot. They would take me to practice for my AAU team in Atlanta on every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. All the out-of-state tournaments that they had to drive me. As far as college they pretty much left it up to me," Gilreath said.
She says that after college she would like to come back and pay it forward. Gilreath plans to major in elementary education and would like to be a coach.
"I'm really excited about my new team. I look forward to playing college basketball and I hope things go well. Academically, I want to get my degree in four years if possible. Athletically, I would like to get some playing time this season. There are four other freshmen on this year's team, so we will just have to see," she said.