Who: No. 2 Hamilton Heights Christian (Chattanooga, Tenn.) vs. No. 3 St. Frances (Baltimore)
When: 11 a.m. ET Friday
Where: Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.)
About Hamilton Heights Christian: The program makes its debut in DICK’S and comes in riding a 14-game winning streak. The Lady Hawks’ lone loss was 46-42 to Forest Trail Academy (Kernersville, N.C.) and are 28-1. Hamilton Heights made the field after winning the National Association of Christian Athletes Division I tournament in Tennessee and then the USA National Prep Tournament in South Carolina.
Hamilton Heights, ranked No. 8 in the Super 25, is led by two seniors in Alabama State signee Amber Hunt (10.9 points per game) and Cy Cy Hickey-White, but its most prominent players are underclass stars. Junior Jazmine Massengill, a 6-foot combo guard, is ranked No. 26 in the ESPNw HoopGurlz 60 and is a Tennessee commit. She averages 10 points, 7.1 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals. Elizabeth Balogun, a 6-foot wing from Nigeria, is ranked No. 15 in the ESPNw HoopGurlz 60.
About St. Frances: The Panthers, ranked No. 10 in the Super 25, are in the national tournament for the first time since 2009 and are 30-0 after a rigorous schedule that included winning the state Class A title for the second consecutive year.
Mia Davis, a 6-foot Temple signee, can score in a lot of different ways and also is a powerful rebounder. Point guard Nia Clouden was named the Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year and is ranked No. 44 in the ESPN 60. St. Frances also has a pair of talented freshmen in 6-2 Angel Reese and combo guard Delicia Pinnick, who can knock down the three.
What to expect: The early 11 a.m. ET start time often proves challenging for teams to get out of the blocks because they are used to playing at night.
Here’s one way to look at the matchup: The teams have both played National Christian Academy, with Hamilton Heights winning 61-50 in the National Prep Championship title game, and St. Frances winning 75-74 in overtime in mid-February. And here’s another: Hamilton Heights averages 65.3 per game and allows 42.5. St. Frances averages 65.8 per game and allowed 43.3.
Look forward to a good one to get semifinal day going at the DICK’S Nationals.