Wings takes title

Wings Academy’s Jesse Govan #15 shoots a free throw against Gonzaga during a high school basketball game at Baruch College in New York.
Associated Press / Gregory Payan

When it comes to basketball champions in the public schools, people talk about Boys & Girls, Lincoln from Brooklyn, or Cardozo from Queens. Now a new champion emerged to the top. It was Wings Academy, located in the East Bronx.

And it all happened at Madison Square Garden, home of the stumbling New York Knicks, who just could not get ‘it’ together this year. Knicks is playing without its all-star forward, Carmelo Anthony.

The PSAL has one in the making, he is a center at Wings Academy, a school first built n 1994.

Last year’s champion team Cardozo was certainly looking to defend its title, but just came up short at the Garden. They faced a stronger and better rival in Wings, a school that captured its first ever championship.

With Jessie Govan leading the way by scoring 17 points and grabbing the same number of rebounds in 29 minutes, Wings got by Cardozo 50-46 to qualify for the New York State tournament to be held in Albany. As a team, Wings totaled 42 rebounds, 15 more than its opponent.

“My teammates look for me to close things out,” Jessie said after the game. “I couldn’t believe it (meaning the championship). I’m so happy! The way that I played showed that I got better and better as a player. Basketball is a great outlet for me.”

“It was hard to defend Govan’s size; he’s 6’7,” said Ron Naclerio, a coach at Cardozo. “Jessie is just a good player.”

Coming into the game, Wing’s coach Bill Turnage was confident that his team could upset Cardozo.

“We’ve been up in three or four other semi-final games and we just didn’t close out the ball games,” he said. “I was confident that these guys could get it (win) done. It’s everything that these guys ever dreamed of.

“I’ve never realized how much of an impact these guys had on the community. I couldn’t think of a better group of guys to represent Wings Academy and bring home the championship.”

“We played in the world’s most famous arena,” said Govan. “Even in warm ups it’s just crazy.”

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