Playing basketball together since third grade, East Hamilton standout Madison Hayes and recent Hamilton Heights star Treasure Hunt have proved that chemistry mixed with star talent can go a long way.
The dynamic duo helped lead TGB to the 2019 USA Basketball 3-on-3 U18 national championship. The team name comes from "Tennessee Georgia Basketball" as part of coach Keisha Hunt's FBC United AAU team based in Atlanta.
Hayes and Treasure Hunt combined for 11 points in a 21-17 first-to-21 win against the reigning 3-on-3 Youth Olympic Games gold medalist, Quest, recently at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
"We are like sisters," said Hayes, Tennessee's Class AAA Miss Basketball. "We know everything about each other and our strengths on the court. We were comfortable out there as an entire team. To win the gold medal and bring it back to Chattanooga is special to bring back to the city."
Hunt secured the gold as she came around a perfectly set screen by teammate Olivia Cochran and scored over the No. 1-ranked recruit in the country for this year, Stanford signee Haley Jones. Cochran, from Atlanta's Carver High School, was the tournament MVP and is the No. 1 recruit in Georgia for 2020, and Raven Johnson from Westlake rounded out the TGB roster.
TGB lost its first game and then rattled off seven straight wins for the gold medal.
"Our girls played with a chip on their shoulder and went right after everyone after the first game," said Coach Hunt, who attained national-level success with her Hamilton Heights teams. "Rankings are just numbers. Even though we were perceived as an underdog, that didn't stop us."
With three juniors and a sophomore, TGB took down the gold medal favorites.
Quest also had the No. 1-ranked player for the 2020 signing class in University of Connecticut-committed Paige Bueckers, plus two other top-four prospects in Notre Dame signee Samantha Brunelle and Hailey Van Lith (2020).
"Our girls had a strong desire to beat them," Coach Hunt said. "Our chemistry helped push us. I think we showed the rest of the world what we already knew: We have a group that can go up against anyone."
With Hayes having a chance to become a 3,000-point high school scorer and the coach's daughter likewise looking to finish her prep career with a bang, they already can savor gold medals at the national level.
"I think it's a dream for all of us to one day play for Team USA's national team," Hayes said. "This was a great chance for us to be seen and showcase our team. It was truly an honor."