(Chatham-Kent, ON) Chatham-Kent was transformed into a college basketball town on Wednesday as Canadian basketball star Bridget Carleton returned to her hometown as a senior member of the Iowa State Cyclones, in a regulation matchup with the Eastern Michigan Eagles. The game was held at St. Clair College HealthPlex in front of over 1,000 fans in attendance.

For an On Point Exclusive, photographer and writer Trung Ho spent the day with the Cyclones, as the team started their morning with a visit to King George IV Public School where Carleton’s father Rob is a teacher. Shortly after, the team headed to St. Clair College for shootaround before taking the court once again in the evening, where the Cyclones would go on to defeat the Eagles 85-59 to improve to 5-0 this season. Carleton led the Cyclones with a team-high 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four blocks in 27 minutes. The photographs below are from November 21, along with interviews conducted throughout the day.

11:38 AM

12:09 PM

12:17 PM

We visited my dad’s elementary school King George this morning, we got to see all the kids. They made signs, they were ready to cheer us on. It’s just a really fun environment, the community here obviously, Chatham’s my home, it always will be my home. Not here very much anymore, but I take a lot of pride in being from here. Obviously being Canadian, but it’s nice to come back and be able to give back and be kind of an inspiration to other young girls, so yeah, it means a lot.

– Bridget Carleton

12:26 PM

…To watch your kid play a game that she loves, that she works so hard at, it’s amazing. And being so far away, we, my husband and I would take every opportunity we could to go. And we don’t mind driving 11 hours for a weekend to go, because it’s what you do as a parent.

– Carrie Carleton (Bridget Carleton’s mother)

It’s an 11-hour drive to Iowa, so it’s not the easiest thing to do, but they love doing it, and that support means the world to me. I think, if I’m making them proud then I’m happy and I’m good to go with whatever I’m doing if they’re happy and they’re proud of me.

– Bridget Carleton

1:26 PM

1:31 PM

1:53 PM

You know, we knew when Bridget came to us that she was going to have an immediate impact on our team and she did. She’s a very talented kid, obviously with her experience with Canada Basketball, she’s played at a high level, she’s ultra-competitive. She came to us not only just to be a very good college player, but obviously her dream is to go to Tokyo [2020 Summer Olympics]. And she’s gotta take me, I’ve never been there. I told her, she’s gotta make that team so I can go.

– Bill Fennelly (Head Coach, Iowa State Cyclones)

5:49 PM

5:52 PM

[Cyclones teammates] said it reminds them of Ames, where our college is. It’s very similar, that’s what I tell them. Yep, a lot of farm fields, lot of flat land, kind of like Iowa, nothing too special. But no, they love it, they love kind of seeing where I grew up so it’s been really fun.

– Bridget Carleton

6:06 PM

6:09 PM

We can’t walk down the street without someone stopping us to say, “How’s Bridget doing?” And Chatham’s a great community for that, for supporting their local athletes, whoever they are. And for them, for Iowa State to come here to play, I mean the city just loves it.

– Carrie Carleton

6:16 PM

6:25 PM

6:51 PM

I think [picking up two quick fouls] was nerves, just kind of taking it all in, didn’t really know what was going on, but it was fine. I know coach trust me to play with two fouls in the second quarter, he put me back in. But then I got in the rhythm of the game and it was fine after that.

– Bridget Carleton

6:56 PM

7:09 PM

7:25 PM

8:07 PM

8:11 PM

8:15 PM

8:23 PM

8:24 PM

I think just acknowledging the crowd because there are so many people out there that have been such a big part of my life, and the fact that I get to come back and play in front of them, it just means a lot, and it’s really special. Just their support and how much they love and support and want to see me do well and succeed. And it’s really a special place just because it’s a small town, everyone’s really excited for me and what I’m doing so it’s just an awesome environment.

– Bridget Carleton

This was an amazing night. One of the most amazing nights I’ve been a part of as a college coach, Bridget deserves all this. And we cannot thank all the people in the Chatham-Kent area, all the people that did the work to make this happen. So this is a night that I’m sure she’ll remember, her family will remember, for the rest of her life. And I’m sure I will the rest of my coaching life.

– Bill Fennelly

8:39 PM

Text and photos by Trung Ho 

Special thanks to Iowa State Cyclones Athletics Communications

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