The Wings Academy boys’ basketball team has moved past all of the joy that comes with basking in winning the school’s city title. Their hope is to take one final bow at after the state Federation tournament.
“I’m greedy,” Wings coach Billy Turnage sad “I want it all.
When the team returned to school on March 16 they were greeted with standing ovations and everyone, including themselves, were calling members of the team “champ.”
“Everyone was just so proud of what we did,” Georgetown-bound center Jessie Govan said. “I walked in and everybody started applauding.”
The veteran group wants to experience that again when it comes back from this weekend’s state Federation Class AA tournament in Albany. The Wings take on local squad and unbeaten NYSPHSAA champion Shenendehowa on Friday night on the semifinals. Christ the King and Long Island Lutheran battle in the other semifinal.
“We want to continue to make history,” Turnage said “This has been a dream season for Wings Academy and we want to continue to build upon that.”
Turnage added that he had to crack the whip a little to refocus the group when it got back in the gym last Thursday. Since then they have been locked in. Wings (26-2) leans heavily on the dominant 6-foot-10 Govan and Hofstra-bound point guard Desure Buie, but they aren’t in this position without help from the guys around them.
Senior guard Randy Corporan hit two big three-pointers in the championship victory over Cardozo and Kevin Saylor added 10 points. Jose Perez tallied 10 points in the quarterfinals and dished out six assists in the semis against Jefferson. Jamar Brown added six boards in the semifinals.
“It’s big games where we are going to be denied,” Buie said of he and Govan “We are going to be struggling and you have to pick up. We have a lot of pieces this year. It’s not just us and one other piece.”
Wings knows it will battle more than a big and sharp-shooting Shenendehowa team that beat Mount Vernon and Brentwood on its way to punching its ticket to Albany. The school is just 15 miles from UAlbany, the site of the Federation tournament. A large and energetic Shenendehowa crowd is expected. Wings knows it can’t let the fans take them out of their game.
“It’s going to be crazy,” Govan said. “We just have to make sure we stay prepared, we stay on point, and we don’t get rattled as soon as we get up there.”
The Wings are going up to Albany with a purpose and a clear goal. The city title is not enough and the goals of their season aren’t complete.
“After winning the city it made us hungrier,” Corporan said. “It made us get kind of greedy and win a lot more.”