Imagine playing basketball before a packed home crowd cheering its lungs out as the game nears a dramatic conclusion. Then, in the next instant, imagine total silence.

It’s happened to Gardiner senior Lauren Chadwick a few times when her cochlear implant has malfunctioned.

“All of a sudden it will cut off and I can’t hear a thing,” Chadwick said.

The way the Tigers point guard plays the game, it’s doubtful fans even noticed. In fact, she says her deafness has accentuated her other senses and makes her more aware of the game around her. Tough to argue that point as her high school career drew to a close.

A four-year starter for the Tigers, Chadwick has been a mainstay for a number of successful teams and has excited fans with her athletic ball-handling skills, passing and scoring. For her efforts, she’s been selected Kennebec Journal Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

Gardiner coach Mike Gray knew he had something special in Chadwick the first time she stepped on the court.

“She can create her own shot,” Gray said. “We knew that right away and she just kept getting better.”

Chadwick finished her career 25 points shy of the coveted 1,000 point milestone. This season she averaged 14.4 points, 2.5 assists and 3.4 steals. At 5-foot-6 she’s also a strong rebounder and defender.

“Numbers don’t explain everything she did on the court,” Gray said. “Her court vision and her presence and her ability to take care of the ball. Teams didn’t even try to press us this year.”

Chadwick admits she wanted to reach the 1,000 point mark this year, but doesn’t dwell on it. Plus she knows a point guard must always strike that balance between passing and shooting and in the final analysis, she’s a pass-first player.

“Always be a teammate but never be selfish,” she said.

Gray said he and his staff didn’t ask Chadwick to score her freshman year since she was surrounded by older experienced players. As her career progressed she looked to score more often. All her skills were on display seven games into the season when the Tigers faced an unbeaten Nokomis team..

Chadwick took over the game, finishing with 22 points, a half dozen assists and just one turnover. Her back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter helped Gardiner pull away and seal the victory.

“She just kind of put us on her back,” Gray said. “They didn’t have an answer for her.”

Chadwick also brought an element of excitement to the home-town fans with her behind the back and between the legs ball-handling and her acrobatic drives to the basket.

“She’s one of those fun players,” Gray said. “You go into a game, who knows what’s going to happen?

Chadwick credits her grandfather Nelson Gosline Sr. and uncle Nelson Gosline Jr. as her greatest influences in basketball, and she was a big fan of former standout Sean McNally.

“I always looked up to Sean McNally,” she said. “I wanted to be as good as him even if I couldn’t be as tall.”

Chadwick, who plays soccer in the fall, is playing lacrosse this spring. She still finds time to get in basketball workouts nearly every day with an eye toward playing in college, likely out of state.

“My love for the game has improved a huge amount,” she said. “I want to take it to the next level, probably Div. III where I might have the potential to play soccer, too.”