MELISSA — First-Team all-district forward Taylor Carney has never been shy about making known what she wanted and going for it. As a plucky freshman on the Lady Cardinals’ JV basketball team, Carney walked into then-varsity head coach Claude Webb’s office to say, “When I get called up to varsity for the playoffs, I get to wear No. 22, right?”


While that didn’t come to pass then, Carney soon got her wish and carried that number to great heights.


On Wednesday in Melissa High School’s main gymnasium, Carney reached another goal: signing a letter of intent to continue her educational and basketball career, picking Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.


A three-year varsity player, Carney was the district Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore and a key contributor to back-to-back undefeated district championship seasons, including the Lady Cards’ recent 32-4 campaign and playoff run to the regional quarterfinals.


She also achieved in the classroom, earning academic all-state honors from both the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches and the Texas Girls Coaches Association.


“I’m just really happy that I finally got here,” Carney said. “I’ve been working so hard to finally get to this moment. I remember my freshman year, when I saw Katie Webb and all of them signing, I remember telling myself, ‘That’s going to be me one day.’ And I finally got to do that.”


The NCAA Division III Lady Pirates compete in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Association.


Carney said Southwestern was love at first sight.


“Whenever I first went there for camp, I loved it but I was also a sophomore so I was thinking there’ll probably be a bunch of other schools. But as I got older and I went to other camps there was just none others that I liked as much as that one.”


She plans to study computer science as well as cyber security.


Carney was joined at Wednesday’s celebration by her parents, Kelly and Christy Carney, sister Jordan Carney, brother Mason Carney and grandmother Karen Edgett, as well as a multitude of teammates, coaches and friends.


Jordan also played for the Lady Cards and was a senior when Carney was a sophomore.


“We started playing basketball when Jordan was about seven and Taylor followed suit,” Kelly said. “It’s the end of a journey. I’m really happy for her. And I’m really happy for the academic side at the school she wanted to go to. It’s a culmination of all those practices and coming up here [to Melissa High School]. … We’d come up here and do drills all summer long.”