The Chattanooga high school basketball scene has reason to celebrate - several of them, in fact.
A record-setting three standout seniors from the Scenic City will play in the prestigious McDonald's All American Game for girls' basketball on April 1 at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Selected among the top 24 girls' players for the class of 2020 were East Hamilton's Madison Hayes and Hamilton Heights Christian Academy teammates Kamilla Cardoso and Treasure Hunt.
"I was sitting in my living room waiting for the announcement to come on, but we had basketball practice starting soon," Hunt said. "So I was sitting in there and my grandfather kept honking the horn telling me to come on. When I got in the car I got a group message that said congratulations. So when I got to the school I saw I had made it. My teammates all were there to celebrate with me, and it was really special."
Hayes is the first girl from a Hamilton County public school to be named a McDonald's All American. Two years ago, Hamilton Heights' Elizabeth Balogun and Jazmine Massengill became the first players to be selected from Chattanooga for a McDonald's All American girls' game.
Also on the girls' roster are Olivia Cochran from Georgia and Hailey Van Lith from Washington, who helped Hayes with Team USA sweep the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup last June in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Hamilton Heights coach Keisha Hunt directed Hayes and Cochran along with her daughter and Cardoso on the travel team FBC United and now has coached six McDonald's All Americans.
Hayes, a Mississippi State signee, has averaged 26 points, 12 rebounds, 4.5 assists, four steals and three blocked shots per game for the Lady Hurricanes this season.
"It means a lot to me that my hard work is paying off, but this is still just the beginning and I have a lot more I can do," Hayes said. "It's super exciting because our FBC team is setting a record for most from an AAU team to be in a McDonald's All American Game. That organization helped us really become the players we are today and the young women we are off the court. I am really excited to get back on the floor and play on the same team one last time with them."
Cardoso, a Syracuse signee, has averages of 17 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two assists. Treasure Hunt, a Kentucky signee, is at 21.5 points, five rebounds, 3.1 assists, two steals and two blocks.
"Making the team is a really big deal for me," Cardoso said. "Seeing my name on the TV screen was a great honor. Honestly, I was short of words and at the verge of tearing up. It's been a dream of mine since freshman year. This is a big deal to us because most players down here are overlooked. I am glad I can represent this city."
All three local McDonald's All Americans are also on the 25-player watch list for the Naismith national player of the year award.
"It's such an amazing honor for these players to make the McDonald's All American Game," Coach Hunt said. "This is all a testament to their hard work and the sacrifices they have made."
The McDonald's All American boys' game, which is in its 43rd year, is on the same day at the same site and will be televised by ESPN. The 19th edition of the girls' game will be televised by ESPN2. Times have not been announced yet.
Contact Patrick MacCoon at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.