Two Hamilton Heights Lady Hawks recognized as McDonald's All-Americans

Hamilton Heights Lady Hawks Jazmine Massengill, on the left, and Elizabeth Balogun are both recognized as McDonald's All-Americans on Friday. IMAGE: WTVC Sports

Across the nation, 700 elite basketball players are nominated to be McDonald's All Americans.

But only 24 girls and boys are selected.

And two girls chosen are right here in Chattanooga, playing on the same high school team, Hamilton Heights Christian Academy.

It's an honor of a lifetime.

This summer, Jazmine Massengill joins the Lady Vols.

It's a huge dream and so was Friday.

McDonald's gave "Jaz" and her teammate Elizabeth Balogun their All-American jerseys.

Both say it's the biggest moment in their lives.

Balogun said, "I'm extremely excited, like overwhelmed. I'm just excited."

Massengill was just as excited, "It's a very emotional thing. I'm just honored to be here and glad that I was chosen because there's not many athletes that can say they made the team."

Senator Bob Corker congratulated each athlete with letters and their high school coach offered valuable advice.

Hamilton Heights Lady Hawks coach Keisha Hunt turned and looked at each of her stars from the podium and told them, "And as you continue on your journey, remember it's not good enough to be good if you can be better. And it's not good enough to be better if you can be the best and you both can be."

Balogun came here from Nigeria when she was 12. Her parents still live there.

She followed her brother, who also played at Hamilton Heights.

She lives with her coach. "Crazy and great at the same time. Crazy in a good way because she (Hunt) treats you like a daughter. She gets on you, yells at you, both for the good, for the better though and she can love you too," Balogun said.

Massengill, on the other hand, is a Chattanooga girl through and through.

Her coach says loyalty and trust define her and she also believes the Lady Vols are getting a good one. Hunt said, "I think that she's gong to step in there and really contribute to their program. Her smartness on the court, she hardly ever makes a mistake."

Massengill's mother, Charmaine Massengill, is thrilled her daughter is going just up I-75. "I'm not going to miss a home game. She'll be 90 minutes away. It'll take me about an hour and a half to get there. We love Coach Holly, coach Bridgett and coach Reeves. They've been wonderful. But Tennessee's been her home for a long time since she was three years old all she ever talked about was being a Lady Vol."

And Jazmine was sold on the Lady Vols before coach Holly Warlick made her pitch, "She said I could help with the program, help win national championships. It felt like home."

Balogun is headed to Georgia Tech because she and her father put a priority on academics.

The McDonald's All-American game happens in Phillips Arena in Atlanta on March 28.

Presently, ESPN ranks the Hamilton Heights Lady Hawks as #2 in the nation.

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