SOUR LAKE, Texas — "I love it," Hardin-Jefferson Hawk Ashlon Jackson said. "I'm just blessed."
Ashlon Jackson is the girl who's smile brightens up the room and who's skills on the court make her shine even more.
"She has been a great leader for us for three years, this being the fourth," said girls basketball coach Mike Fogo said. "A lot is expected of her and a lot is on her shoulders and carries it with grace and poise that's refreshing to see as a coach."
Hardin-Jefferson's girls basketball coach Mike Fogo says Jackson has set new expectations for the players and the team. Some that won't change once she's graduated.
"Spirit that our program has and the ability to put in the work," Fogo said. "You don't get wins without putting work in."
And work she has to make her dreams come true.
"I stayed in the gym. I was a sponge. I wanted to learn. I wanted to get better," Jackson said. "When I starting taking basketball serious stuff changed. I knew I couldn't...there were a lot of sacrifices that needed to be made or had to be made."
Jackson has signed to play basketball at Duke University after she graduates and her decision wasn't solely based on the game. She also considered what program would help her grow as a person.
She says she believes Duke's coach, Kara Lawson, will do just that.
"She comes off as a person that you can accomplish anything with and that's what I fell for," Jackson said. "It's nothing fake with her. She's very passionate about you, not just as a player as a person."
Her time as a hawk isn't over yet. She has a plan in mind for how she wants her high school basketball career to end.
"State Championship. State Championship," Jackson said. "If you work for whatever you want in life, you're going to get and I absolutely feel as if we are going to get our goal this year."