Jazmine Massengill and Elizabeth Balogun do a lot of things together.
It was only appropriate the two players from Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.) donned their honorary jerseys for the McDonald’s All American Game in the same ceremony Friday as part of the McDonald’s Hometown Heroes presented by American Family Insurance.
Balogun, a 6-0 wing who is headed to Georgia Tech and the Tennessee-bound Massengill, a 6-0 point guard, are one of two sets of high school teammates who will be playing in the game, but they’ll be facing each other on different teams. Balogun will play for the West squad and Massengill will be on the East.
“We do lunch together and we are in every class together,” Massengill said. “We also might see each other at our boys basketball games, so there’s a relationship on and off the court. We always scrimmage against each other but it will be different playing against each other at McDonald’s.”
Balogun, who came to the U.S. from Nigeria in 2013, remembers seeing the McDonald’s Game that year on TV. This year’s game is March 28 at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
“I didn’t really know who was who (in 2013), but it looked so fun,” Balogun said. “I’m excited to be in that moment, in that atmosphere and the game.”
Besides Massengill, Balogun is friends with West squad player Elizabeth Dixon of Ridgeway (Memphis), who is also headed to Georgia Tech.
Massengill said she is friends with fellow East squad player Amira Collins from Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), who is also headed to Tennessee. She’s also getting to know West squad player Zarielle Green from Duncanville, Texas, another Vols signee.
“We’re all working on building a better relationship,” Massengill said.
Balogun and Massengill have helped the Hawks run to a 19-2 start and the No. 10 spot in the Super 25 girls basketball rankings. HHCA is also in consideration for the GEICO High School Basketball Nationals. The Hawks were the runner-up at last year’s event, which was known then as the DICK’S High School Nationals.
“We really do have unfinished business (at GEICO),” Balogun said. “We want to go there and take it home.”
“I definitely think we have the team,” Massengill said. “We’re not only physically stronger, but we’re mentally stronger. We prepared all this year to go back and we know what we have to do to win.”