Wings clipped by miraculous Cardozo rally

No one shied away from the blame after Wings Academy’s heart breathing and almost unthinkable defeat

The Wings let defending PSAL city champions Benjamin Cardozo erase a nine-point deficit with less than two minutes left to play and hand them a 50-47 loss in the final of the SNY Invitational at CCNY last Saturday. The Judges scored 12 points in the final 1:46, including three treys to win a game what will have huge playoff seeding implications.

Wings boys’ basketball coach Billy Turnage took the blame after the contest. He lost track of how many times out he had left and took his final one trying to preserve a possession with a little over three minutes to play in contest. It left him unable to try to slow Cardozo’s 12 -0 run to end the game. He vowed to never let his players down by mismanaging a game down the stretch again.

“This is on me,” Turnage said. “It’s nothing the kids did. I blew it.”

Cardozo (18-1) certainly played a role too after Wings grabbed a 47-38 lead on a basket by Georgetown-bound center Jessie Govan. Judges star Rashond Salnave, who has just four points to that point, sparked his team’s final surge.

He got a basket and the foul and on the next possession he buried a three-pointer. Aaron Walker and Tariq Coburn each added treys of their own to put Cardozo up for good at 49-47 with 30 seconds left to play.

Hofstra-bound point guard Desure Buie had a contested look at tying three in the final seconds, but it was no good. The senior didn’t let Turnage shoulder all of blame. The Wings (17-2) lost their composure late in the game. They took quick shots and turned the ball over, allowing Cardozo the chance to rally.

“He can’t play for us,” Buie said. “I think we made some very bad decisions down the stretch at the end of the game that cost us that ball game. It isn’t all his fault. It’s the guard’s fault also. We did those turnovers, not him.”

The loss spoiled a superb outing by Bui. He scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and connected in three treys, including one to beat the third quarter buzzer that put Wings up 36-31. Bui felt like he had to make up for a poor shooting night in a win over Cardinal Hayes in the semifinal.

“I had to come out and play more aggressive,” Buie said.

Govan, who was in foul trouble all afternoon, finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Walker led Cardozo with 17 points. McNeely tallied 12 points and Coburn had 10. Salnave finished with nine points.

Wings despite missing out on a chance to make a case for the top seed in the PSAL Class AA playoffs still has plenty of basketball to play. Falling to Cardozo in a game that had a playoff feel is just a tough loss before the homestretch.

“The good thing is that its January, it’s not March,” Turnage said. “I told them the next time we see them again, whoever loses is collecting uniforms.”

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