Athlete of the week: Carmen Bridges put together a historic career with the Cougars

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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The name Carmen Bridges has been etched into Lafayette Christian lore for eternity. She put together a remarkable basketball career for the Cougars during her five years in the uniform. Bridges put together an all-time senior season with a string of magnificent performances, including her single-game school record of 42 points in a game against Praise Academy on Jan. 19.

“I got pulled out in the third quarter with about four or five minutes left and we did not realize how many points I had until the stats person came over and told us I was only a few points away from the school record,” she said. “As soon as we realized, coach put me back in the game and I got the final bucket to break the record with 30 seconds left in the game.

“It was exciting and I don’t know if you would call it emotional or what, but I was thankful for being able to do that.”

The numbers jump off the page from her senior season. Bridges averaged 24.8 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 1.4 blocks a game. There were many games during her senior season where the team asked her to be a one-woman wrecking ball and she was always up to the challenge.

“This year was kind of crazy and it went by so fast that it’s hard to believe it’s over,” Bridges said. 

Whether it was posting up along the baseline, shooting from behind the 3-point line, or driving hard to the basket, Bridges found a way to consistently score during her final campaign with the Cougars.

In the early days at Lafayette Christian, Bridges was no dominant scorer. She was a strong rebounder and was quick to fill any role that was needed, but her strong offensive play really did not unearth itself until her junior season, when she had to step into a leadership role.

“Last year was definitely a big step for me because there were seniors on that team that had not played as long as I had, so it was a little scary at first because people were looking at me to lead the team

Despite enjoying a ton of individual success as a junior, the team struggled to a 3-12 record. 

Something had to change. Bridges went to work in the offseason and came back stronger, sharper and more skilled on the court. The results were staggering as the Cougars 11-7 including a victory in the opening round of the state playoffs.

“Last year we won just three games and that was tough, but we turned it around this year and made the playoffs which is a big accomplishment for us considering where we were last season,” Bridges said. “It was nice to experience the playoffs, especially with the other seniors.”

Bridges is no life-long hooper. She did not find the sport until her seventh-grade year at Springwood. It was love at first site though and she has been attached to the game ever since, even starting to play travel ball during her 10th grade year.

“There’s just something about putting a ball in a hoop,” Bridges said, flashing a smile. “

Bridges made her way to Lafayette Christian as an eighth grader and has been a part of the Cougars girls basketball team ever since.

With her legacy at Lafayette Christian cemented, the senior is excited to try her hand at the next level in the fall. With multiple college offers on the table, Bridges is still weighing her options but will be making her next step known in the coming weeks.