- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN New York Writer
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With one of the most improbable buzzer-beating shots from well beyond half-court that anybody has ever seen, Khalil Edney went from average high school student to instant celebrity.
Edney capped off a bizarre sequence by draining a 55-foot, one-handed heave as time expired, giving ninth-seeded New Rochelle High School a dramatic 61-60 upset victory over third-seeded Mount Vernon in Sunday's New York Section 1 Class AA championship game.
"I can't believe it happened. I'm in shock right now," Edney told ESPNNewYork.com during a telephone interview hours after he made the impossible happen.
On Monday, the senior center's shot was the lead story on "SportsCenter" and No. 1 among the network's "Top Plays". The clip has been retweeted by the likes of Baltimore Ravens running back and former New Rochelle star Ray Rice, New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith and Duke guard Seth Curry.
"Khalil, I need [your] jersey!" Rice told Edney on "SportsCenter." "I need an autograph ... I want a jersey signed for my basement!"
Edney said Curry's re-tweet, which included the word "Wow!", made his day because he's a huge Duke fan.
Just how bizarre was the shot?
Edney began the sequence by inbounding the ball under his own basket. His baseball pass intended for teammate Joe Clarke was intercepted by a Mount Vernon player at mid-court, who proceeded to loft the ball in the air across the time line in order to run out the clock. But Edney alertly caught the ball in front of the 3-point line his team was defending before letting it fly literally right before time expired.
His teammates began mobbing him in a dogpile as Mount Vernon celebrated simultaneously, figuring it had won as well. Initially, the shot was ruled no good, but the referees huddled, ultimately concluding that it would count. Replays, though inconclusive, showed the ball leaving Edney's hands at about the 0.1 second mark.
"I just threw it up. I thought it was gonna bounce off the front rim, but it was all net," Edney said. "I couldn't believe it.
"I didn't know whether it counted or not [at first]. In my eyes, it counted, so I started running around. Everybody stormed the court. I was under the pile when we found out it might not count. Then the referees huddled, and when they said the shot was good, I started running around again and screaming."
Said his coach, Rasuan Young: "To tell you the truth, I don't what I was thinking. I just saw it in slow motion. We had an angel with us that day."
On Monday, Edney also was scheduled to appear on Fox News, NBC's "Today" show and ABC's "Good Morning America". The coolest part of his new-found fame?
"Spending time with my teammates," Edney replied.
Said Young: "That's him. He's a humble person. He's loyal to his friends. He's always been a great kid ever since he was young."
Edney now has nearly 2,000 Twitter followers, well up from the fewer than 400 he had before making the shot.
Edney ended up with seven points and nine rebounds. New Rochelle (13-9) trailed by 10 with four minutes remaining but closed the game on a 12-1 run to claim a miraculous come-from-behind victory.
Prior to his last-second heave, Edney had not hit a 3-pointer the entire season.
"Sure, I've made half-court shots in practice, but nothing like this, not that far, not with one hand, not with the game on the line," he said.
"My first one couldn't have happened at a better time."
New Rochelle will take on Binghamton in the regional state final on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. Edney actually missed the team's semifinal victory because of a sprained ankle, and his status heading into Sunday's game was uncertain.
"I had to do therapy all day yesterday. This morning I did ankle therapy too. My ankle felt fine. It got taped up and I wore a brace. I told my coach, 'There's no way I'm missing this game,' " he said.
Edney says this basketball season will be his last. He will play quarterback next season at Dean College in Massachusetts.
Sunday's shot was especially meaningful for Edney, who lost his mother to cancer in 2006 when he was just 11 years old.
"She's the reason I made it," Edney said. "That shot was everything. It was a message sent from her. It was very difficult. I'm a momma's boy. I've got 'momma's boy' tattooed on the inside of my arms. That represents everything to me."
So, after watching the replay, just how improbable was what he accomplished?
"I could never have imagined myself hitting a buzzer-beater like this," Edney said.
Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com
With 2.9 seconds left in Sunday's New York Section 1 Class AA championship, New Rochelle trailed Mount Vernon by two. But Khalil Edney launched a heave from beyond half-court that found the net as time expired, giving New Rochelle a 61-60 win.