skip navigation

SLA-Beeber wins Penncrest Holiday Invite in dramatic fashion

12/30/2022, 12:45am EST
By Joseph Santoliquito

By Joseph Santoliquito (@JSantoliquito)


MEDIA — Jahad Marable found out he could do something over the summer—dunk. The 6-foot-3 junior forward for Science Leadership Academy at Beeber had to get used to climbing so high in the air until he’s now become comfortable doing it.

He actually personifies the new heights his team is reaching so far this early season.

Last year, the Rockets finished their season 9-8 and suffered a Philadelphia Public League playoff loss to traditional powerhouse Simon Gratz. A month into this season and SLA at Beeber is one victory shy of last year’s total, after the Rockets, behind Marable’s team-high 14, won the Penncrest Holiday Invitational by beating the host Lions, 53-52, on Thursday night.

The Rockets improved to 8-2 overall, while Marable was named tournament MVP, and teammate Maki Pettigrew was named to the all-tournament team, along with Penncrest’s 6-5 budding star freshman Mikey Mita, who scored a game-high 21, and Lions’ senior guard Branden Hemphill, who chipped in with 11.

There are new heights for the SLA at Beeber program and the victory over a tough Penncrest team and the Lions’ stellar coach, the legendary Mike Doyle, was a great step.

“That was a great team we played, they were very big and impressive,” Rockets’ coach Maurice Davis said. “I found out how much fight my team has tonight. They could have given up a couple of times and they kept on fighting through. This was a nice step for Jahad, too.

SLA's Jahad Marable was the tournament MVP. (Photo: Joseph Santoliquito/CoBL)

“He kind of fades away from the basket a little here and there, but once he starts going to the basket, he’s tough to guard. For us to keep playing through the adversity down the end, I’m super proud of my team.”

A lot that had to do with Marable, who tied a season-best with 14. Eight of his 14 came in the fourth quarter when the game was being decided.

“I found I can’t be scared when I have the ball in circumstances that we were faced with in the fourth quarter,” Marable said. “If I’m scared, we lose games like that.”

Michael Brady, the Rockets’ team leader and senior guard, knew what Marable was capable of doing. It was just a matter of his abilities rising to the surface.

“As a team, we were really under the radar last year and made the Public League playoffs and we’re a 3A school and out of nowhere, Jahad started dunking and that’s where the confidence came from,” Brady said.

Marable said it feels good knowing his teammates have confidence in him.

“We had a lot of games cancelled last year and finished 9-8, and I would say this year’s team is filled with a lot of dogs,” Brady said. “Maki Pettigrew leads our team in scoring, we have Jahad rebounding and blocking shots, we have S’ad Jamaladdin making sure everything is running smoothly and my job is to make sure everyone is involved.

“As a collective, we’re a much better team and everyone is stepping up this year and contributing," Brady said.

Penncrest led, 52-49, with :54 left to play, when Pettigrew drove the lane to put the Rockets to within 52-51. The Rockets had four chances to take the lead, missing four free throws, when Amadou Dia, the Rockets’ lone four-year player, went to the line and nailed two free throws with :14 left.

Penncrest’s last-gasp shot fell short, giving the Rockets the victory, despite the coming out party of Mita, who was impressive all night.

He was causing so many problems for the Rockets that midway through second quarter, Davis had his players double-team the lanky freshman each time he had the ball.

“We have a really young team going through some growing pains, and we played hard, and the Central League is absolutely stacked this year,” Doyle said. “In my 20 years here, this is absolutely as good as it gets. But I’m proud of my kids tonight. We just didn’t execute in the end.

“With Mikey, we’re going to se him on TV in the future. We want Mikey shooting from three, shooting the ball from 17-feet out, and his footwork is akin to Hakeem Olajuwon.”

Mita is 14 with a size 12 shoe. Everything is still new to him. The SLA at Beeber players were impressed by the freshman playing in his ninth varsity game.

“I’m learning to be more aggressive,” Mita said. “We need to step up and make some free throws and learn to stay more composed at the end of the game. I wanted the ball in the last seconds. I thought it would be cool to hit a game-winner. Sadly, it wasn’t there.”

By early impressions, it will be there soon for Mita.

By Quarter

Science Leadership Academy at Beeber (8-2):  14   | 13  |  11  | 15 ||  53

Penncrest (3-6):  10   | 13  |  16  |  13 ||  52


SLA-Beeber: Jahad Marable 14, Maki Pettigrew 10, S’ad Jamalladdin 7, Amadov Dia 7, Michael Brady 6, Noah Briggs 6, Christopher Slaffey 3.

Penncrest: Mikey Mita 21, Branden Hemphill 11, Brett Hemphill 9, Patrick Garrison 4, Connor Cahill 3, Marcus Ciavarelli 3, Cole Bernhardt 1.


Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who began writing for CoBL in 2021 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter here.

HS Coverage:

Recruiting News:

Tag(s): Home  Contributors  High School  Joseph Santoliquito  Boys HS  Central League (B)  Penncrest  Public League (B)  Public League C (B)  SLA Beeber