Seven hours before the Big East Tournament final, fans had a preview of some of the future talent coming into the conference. In the PSAL City Championship game at Madison Square Garden, Georgetown commit Jessie Govan led Wings Academy to a 50-46 victory over Cardozo.
Wings and Coach Billy Turnage had come close to winning in the past, but finally broke through this afternoon.
"We've been up in three or four other semifinals and we just didn't close out the ball game. I was more confident that these guys would get it done today. I can't even put into words tonights. It's everything that we've ever dreamed of," said Turnage.
For Cardozo and Coach Ronald Naclerio, they were denied their second City Championship in as many seasons.
Back in January, the Cardozo Judges had defeated Wings in the SNY invitational final, 50-47. Expected to be another close game by many, fans were treated to just that. For most of the afternoon the two basketball powerhouses exchanged baskets and neither built a lead larger than 9.
In the first quarter Cardozo looked like the defending champions and jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead. However, despite Jessie Govan's early struggles from the field, Wings fought back and went into the half with a five point lead.
In the second half Govan showed why he is regarded as one of the best young bigs in the country. He controlled the paint on his way to a 17 point, 17 rebound outing and was too much for Cardozo's undersized frontline.
Cardozo center Armando Dunn gave Govan a good fight, but eventually Govan's size and talent won out.
"Their size hurt us a little today. Jessie, offensively... Armando [Dunn] did a great job on him, but Govan had 17 rebounds, unfortunately one or two rebounds because he is 6'11 and weighs 260. He was like the jolly green giant and grabbed a couple no matter what Armando did," said Cardozo's Coach Naclerio.
Up by 9 with 3:18 left, it appeared that Wings had the game in the bag. However, Cardozo would not go off into the night without a fight. Cardozo chipped away at Wings' lead and after a Desure Buie missed free throw, they were only down by 3 with a chance to tie.
Rashond Salnave, who holds an offer from St. John's, attempted to tie the game with the a long ball, but missed off the back of the rim. Salnave struggled for most of the afternoon, and finished with 11 points on 9 field goal attempts.
Jessie Govan then sealed the game with clutch free throws and Wings walked off the Garden floor as champions. Govan, who took home MVP honors, was in shock when the final buzzer sounded.
"It was crazy. I can't believe it. Once the final buzzer went off I couldn't believe that we could call ourselves PSAL Champions," said Govan. It's just so surreal, and at the Garden, I'm so happy."