JUST BECAUSE Overbrook and West Philadelphia long ago waved bye-bye to elite basketball status, don't think those archrivals can't produce a major memory-maker.
Somewhere above right now, Wilt Chamberlain is calling Marquize Speight his new favorite player.
Yesterday in the championship game of the first West Side Holiday Classic, held in the impressive gym in West's new building at 49th and Chestnut, Speight accepted Kevin Wallace's inbound pass from the opposite baseline, used a dribble to advance within a step of halfcourt and, from just in front of the scorers' table, banked home a threeball to lift 'Brook over the Speedboys, 65-64.
The 5-8, 135-pound junior guard then disappeared under the good kind of flash mob - teammates and fans.
"Yeah, they hurt me a little. But I was already hurt," he quipped, pointing to his left hip.
West had taken a lead with 2.3 seconds remaining on Cameron Estrada's follow of Desmond Sams' in-traffic missed layup. In the timeout, 'Brook coach Tina Wiggins told her squad to work for the best possible shot for Speight, Raymond Mills (four treys, 15 points) or James Harrison (18 points).
The Speedboys had fouls to give, but did not follow coach Jermaine Snell's order to hack away to prevent exactly what happened, a miracle shot from distance.
"I knew it was gonna go. I felt it," Speight said. "Why? Because I'm confident in my shot. I had a good look at the [basket] from right where I was, and I just shot it up. Put the right effort into it. That was my first time doing something like that. It felt good. That was the best game-winning time I've had."
When Speight was asked whether he'd intended to use the glass, he smiled and said, "Naaaahhhh."
Speight added six assists and four steals to his seven points. Mills had seven rebounds and three apiece of steals/blocks while Shafeeq Coleman claimed nine boards. Sams collected 11 points/boards and seven steals. Donte Watkins (11 boards) and Estrada halved 32 points while Marquese Hill had 12. West killed its chances by going 22-for-45 at the line, including 15-for-32 in the first half.