Bridget Carleton: For the Love of the Game
She’s described by coaches as a player who loves to compete, has a never quit attitude, and as a quiet leader. She’s versatile, will do anything for her team, leads by example, and is dedicated to being successful on and off the court. It may seem like high praise for a 14-year-old basketball player from Chatham-Kent, but Bridget Carleton is living up to the hype and is using her love of the game to turn heads on the basketball court across the country.
Earlier this month, Carleton was selected to Team Ontario’s Under-15 Basketball roster, and is now preparing for the National Championships with her teammates at tournaments in the United States. Despite the fact she is competing for the U-15 team, Carleton’s place on the roster is an even larger reminder of the big things to come for this Chatham youth considering Carleton was an underage selection for the provincial team,
“Making the Ontario U-15 team as an underage player is a huge accomplishment,” said Carleton’s Chatham-Kent Wildcats coach Nicole Green, “When tryouts began Bridget was only 13 years old. She was competing against some girls that were almost two years older than her. Bridget’s future is very bright in basketball and with her work ethic she is only going to become a better, stronger player. With Bridget’s size and skill she has the opportunity to be a great player.”
For Carleton, it’s about playing the game she loves, and improving her skills every time she hits the court. Despite the success she’s already found on in basketball, the now 14-year-old Carleton, who stands 6 feet tall and will attend John McGregor Secondary School next year, was still ecstatic to make Team Ontario, and with the opportunity she’s been presented,
“When I found out I made Team Ontario I was so excited, but nervous at the same time,” said Carleton, “I was very excited about playing basketball at the next level, and to improve my game even more. I couldn’t wait to represent Chatham playing with girls from all over the province.”
Last weekend, Carleton and Team Ontario competed at the Nike Showcase Tournament in Chicago, where Ontario had their first court time together in preparation for Nationals this August in Winnipeg. Carleton picked up 26 points in 6 games for Team Ontario, who will head to Michigan this coming weekend for another tune up tournament.
Although Bridget’s own parents, Carrie and Rob, have put countless hours into getting their daughter to games and practices, they’re most proud of Bridget’s own committment to and love of the game,
“As parents we are very proud of Bridget and all the time and effort she puts into being the best she can be. Because she loves the sport and is passionate about the game we will support her in wherever this game takes her. It is great to see her enthusiasm.”
With her sights set on a National Championship with Team Ontario, and new successes on the horizon, Carleton is still thankful to her Chatham-Kent coaches and teammates, whom she won a provincial title with this spring, attributing much of her personal success to them,
“Our Wildcat basketball team has been together for a long time now. We improved a lot as the years went on, playing bigger competition every year. We got better and better not only individualy, but as a team as well, and our coaches made sure of it. I have been playing with the Wildcats for 6 years, and I have had great coaching along the way, which has had a great impact on my success.”
Win or lose at the National Championships this August, Bridget Carleton is soaking in every minute she spends on the court with Team Ontario, as it’s an experience she says is only increasing her passion for basketball,
“Playing basketball at the provincial level is so exhilarating. Being on this team has led me to love basketball even more than I did before.”