Wings won’t be bringing home a national title. National respect is a different story.
The PSAL and state Federation Class AA boys’ basketball champion went toe to toe and never backed down from Oak Hill Academy (Va.), the toped-ranked team in USA Today Super 25 poll, during a game televised on ESPNU. Wings trimmed a 19-point third quarter deficit to six in the fourth quarter before falling 72-63 in the quarterfinals of the Dick’s High School Nationals at Christ the King on April 2. Most didn’t give Wings much of a chance against the extremely talented Warriors.
“People doubted us,” Wings senior guard Randy Corporan said. “Coming into this game people said we would lose by 40. Not losing by 40 really helped us out a lot. It really proved to people that we aren’t going to lose to nobody by 40.”
Despite all his team did right Turnage felt it gave Oak Hill too many second chance opportunities and saw its turnovers turn into easy Warriors hoops. It was something he stressed in their preparation for the contest. The Warriors combined for 29 points in those two areas.
“It wasn’t for lack of heart or intensity or nothing like that,” Turnage said. “They fought, they scrapped and that’s what they have done all year.”
His team fell behind 49-33 with 3:24 to play in the third. Oak Hill took some of its starters out after that in hopes of saving them for the remainder of the tournament.
Wings made the Warriors pay.
It responded with a 12-3 run to pull within 56-50 with 6:40 to go in the game. Wings scored just five points over the next 3:00, allowing Oak Hill to regain control. Georgetown-bound center Jessie Govan had 20 points and nine boards for Wings (28-3).
Hofstra-bound guard Desure Buie felt he had something to prove and gave Oak Hill problems all night in front of a national audience. He scored 22 points, made two three-pointers and turned the ball over just twice. Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said his team struggled to stay in front of him at times and praised his play making ability. None of that is new to Turnage.
“They are finally getting to see the show that I enjoyed for three years,” he said.
It put s scare into an Oak Hill team that came into the contest 46-0, averaging 85 points per game and featuring a starting five that has every player committed to a major Division I school. The Florida State-bound Dwayne Bacon, a McDonald’s All-American, paced Oak Hill with 21 points. Joe Hampton, a 6-foot-7 junior, added 13 points, including three treys and the Ohio State-bound Daniel Giddens, who is 6-foot-10, chipped in eight points.
“They are really deep,” Govan said. “They have a lot of bigs.”
The defeat ends a magical season for Wings. That reality had set in just yet. The loss to Oak Hill was too fresh. The group will never lose the fact that it lost just three times and brought home the school’s first city and state crowns after years of playoff frustration.
“We stayed together as a group,” Buie said. “We fought through it all. Tonight we showed what we can do.