T.R. Miller coaching legend ends career with state runner-up finish

Published 1:43 pm Saturday, March 2, 2024

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Good Hope beats T.R. Miller to win school’s first state title in history
By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA
     BIRMINGHAM – Good Hope High School’s Lady Raiders ended T.R. Miller legendary girls’ head coach Ron Jackson’s coaching career with a s defeat.
The Raiders (33-2), coached by Justin Aby, turned up the defensive pressure after an uncharacteristic slow start and ran away with a 63-35 victory in Friday’s Class 4A girls’ state basketball championship game at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena. The victory gives Good Hope its first state championship – in any sport.
“It’s definitely a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Good Hope senior Heather Tetro said.
The Tigers (26-4) managed Good Hope’s full-court pressure in the early going, playing to a 9-9 stalemate at the end of the first quarter and leading 15-9 in the second. The Raiders took over from there, building a 27-19 lead at halftime before the margin ballooned to more than 20 points in the third quarter.
“They had a little more depth that we did,” Jackson said. “It’s tough to go out and play 32 minutes with the kind of play we played against tonight and come out victorious.”
It was the final game for Jackson, who was Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2023 and announced his retirement effective at the end of the season.
Jackson, who amassed a 1,048-343 combined girls’ and boys’ coaching record during his career, led the Tigers to girls’ state titles in 1995, 1996, 2002 and 2009, as well as runner-up finishes in 2004 and 2020. His T.R. Miller program won 62 straight games in the mid-1990s. He also led Monroe County to the school’s only girls’ basketball state championship in 1985.
“He puts so much – so much that people don’t see – into us,” said T.R. Miller guard Meg Fountain, who led the Tigers with 10 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. “That’s the most upsetting thing. We wanted it for him. … Our motto all season has been, ‘Leave it all on the floor,’ and I can honestly say we left it all on the floor tonight.”
Added Jackson, “I’m just as proud of them as if we’d won the ball game.”
It was Good Hope’s night to shine.
Tournament MVP Bailey Tetro recorded 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and seven steals, and Ivey Maddox added 20 points and three blocked shots. Ava McSwain scored 12 points, and Charley Johnson had eight points.
Aby’s Raiders have been ranked among the elite teams in Class 4A for the last four seasons but had been unable to advance past regional play until this year. Good Hope defeated powerhouse Deshler in the Northwest Regional and rolled past defending 4A state champ Prattville Christian by 30 in the state semifinals before posting Friday’s 28-point win in the championship game.
Aby’s five-year career coaching record improved to 134-31 with the win.
“My wife, she keeps me humble,” Aby chuckled. “She constantly tells me even she could win a championship game with this team.”
The 2024 State Finals continues with the 4A boys’ championship game Friday night. Classes 5A, 6A and 7A finals close out the 2024 state tourney on Saturday.
All 14 state championship games are being aired live over the Alabama Public Television Network and live streamed over the NFHS Network.
    Bailey Tetro, Good Hope (MVP); Ivey Maddox, Good Hope; Ava McSwain, Good Hope; Meg Fountain, T.R. Miller; Jadin Curry, T.R. Miller; Avery
Rogers, Prattville Christian.