State of mind: Wings rallies past Royals for first Federation title

Randy Corporan had seen enough and let his teammates know about it by screaming at the top of is lungs.

The senior guard watched his Wings team let two–time defending state champion Christ the King dictate the game for nearly three and a half quarters. It was time to change that in Corporan’s mind with Wings down 11 and 5:28 to play in the contest.

“I told them, ‘We are giving them the game. They are not better than us. We are just giving them the game and they are playing harder than us, ’” Corporan said. “It stuck with my teammates. It hit them in a spot where they felt disrespected.”

The impassioned speech sparked a wild fourth-quarter finish that made history and denied it at the same time. Wings rallied to beat the Royal 79-73 in the New York State Federation Class AA boys’ basketball final at UAlbany’s SEFCU Arena on March 28. Wings outscored CK 28-11 to close the game to win its first state Federation crown and deny their opponent a historic three-peat.

“This is a great feeling,” said Hofstra-bound point guard Desure Buie. “I have no feeling inside of me right now. It’s like I am numb.”

He and his team were feeling it in the game’s closing minutes. Kevin Saylor hit the first of three Wings’ three-pointers during an 11-2 spurt over 1:50 of game action. Efrain DeJesus and Buie also hit treys. A Saylor layup tied the score and a Buie triple from the right corner put Wings up for good at 67-64 with 2:32 to play in the contest.

“I didn’t even see the run coming,” Corporan said.

The Royals (25-5) pulled as close as 72-69 after two Rawle Alkins’ free throws at the 1:01 mark. Wings answered with Buie finding center Jessie Govan for a two-handed slam with 34 seconds remaining in the contest.

“We didn’t want to go home as the last loser,” said the Georgetown-bound Govan.

He led Wings with 24 points. Buie and DeJesus had 16 each and Saylor added 11. Alkins paced four Royals in double figured with 24 points. Jose Alvarado chipped in 16.

Wings (28-2) was in position to steal the game late thanks to the efforts of role players like Saylor, DeJesus, Jamar Brown and Boubacar Kamissoko. Christ the King shot 50 percent from the three-point line, but Wings trailed just 44-34 at the break thanks to the supporting cast playing some of its best games of the season.

Beating Christ the King made winning even more meaningful for the Wings players. The Royals have been the premier program in New York City that other squads hadn’t figured out how to knock off. The Wings did in their first crack.

The season doesn’t end here for the Bronx school. It is scheduled to play Oak Hill (Va.) in the quarterfinals of the Dick’s National tournament on April 2. Wings came into the season just hoping to win a city title. The state wasn’t something they never thought about until the opportunity presented itself.

“You got to get the city before you can get up here,” Turnage said. “Once we got up here, its two games left. Let’s go out and get it.

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