Apr. 17—JACKSONVILLE — Tommy Miller's Jacksonville Christian team made school history with a Final Four appearance in 2020. A year later, the Thunder came one win short of matching history.
For coaching JCA back to the Northeast Regional final with a completely revamped lineup, Miller repeats as The Anniston Star's Class 1A-3A Calhoun County boys basketball coach of the year.
JCA finished as area runner-up to Ragland but went a game deeper in the playoffs, falling to Decatur Heritage in the regional final in Jacksonville State's Pete Mathews Coliseum.
A year earlier, in the same arena, Eli Fair hit a half-court shot to help JCA avoid overtime with Spring Garden and reach the Final Four for the first time in the Thunder's Alabama High School Athletic Association history.
The Thunder lost a senior class that featured all-state center Chase Vinson, all-state swingman Kobe and twin Nash Messer, point guard Brady Shaddix and Fair. With a completely new lineup, JCA made it back to the regional final.
"You're supposed to say we expected to be here, but that would be a lie," Miller said after JCA's loss to Decatur Heritage. "When we started this year, we had no idea, nor did anybody else think we would be here. We were trying to win A game.
"We were 19-8, I believe, and these guys came along."
Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.