MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s been four months since the Lee Generals won their first-ever 7A State Championship for basketball, and on Thursday morning they were rewarded with a ring ceremony.
“It feels good just to see these guys together again and be able to present them with their rings,” said Lee High School head boys basketball coach Bryant Johnson.
While it was a little unconventional due to the coronavirus, the day was still all about the boys basketball team. One-by-one coach Johnson called the players up to receive their new bling.
“It’s real special, because these guys are like my children,” said Johnson. “They accomplished their overall goal of winning a state championship, and that means a lot to me.”
For the players, Thursday’s ceremony was one they’ve been looking forward to since they were kids, making it even better when they accepted their rings and state champion plaques.
”It’s a big milestone for me and my teammates, because we dreamed about this day,” said 7A State MVP Duke Miles. “We made it a goal, but we were always speaking it into existence.”
But the day wasn't just about celebration. Jamari Smith, who helped the team win that state title, passed away just a few weeks ago. However, the team chose to remain positive.
“I know Jamari wouldn’t want us to be sad because of the type of person he was and his personality,” said Bryant. “So, I can’t help but smile when I think about him or mention his name, because he was such a loving and heartwarming guy while here.”
"I wish he could be here, but he's not, so I'm gonna celebrate for him," added Miles.
Now that the first state title in the books for Lee High, Miles says the program has big shoes to fill.
"We set a good example for the younger class, because we're the first team to break the curse that's been going on with the school," he said with a laugh.
The Generals defeated reigning 7A champs Mountain Brook back in February.