Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Georgetown-Bound Jessie Govan Goes Off for 17 & 17 to Lead Wings Academy to PSAL Title at the Garden
By CHRIS BARCA
NEW YORK — Georgetown may have lost in the Big East Tournament semifinals on Friday night at Madison Square Garden, but their future star won in a big way on Saturday afternoon.
Jessie Govan dropped a dominant double-double of 17 points and 17 rebounds to go with 3 blocks as Wings Academy beat defending champion Cardozo, 50-46, in the PSAL “AA” division city championship game at Madison Square Garden.
Wings avenged a January loss to Cardozo in the championship game of the SNY Invitational at City College.
With the postgame tears of joy wiped away, a grateful Govan said helping Wings to its first ever city championship was a dream come true.
“It was crazy. I couldn’t even believe it,” the 6-foot-11 Govan said of his emotional moment on the court after the game. “When the final buzzer went off, I couldn’t believe we could call ourselves PSAL city champs. It was surreal.”
Georgetown coach John Thompson III, whose team lost to Xavier in the Big East semis, called to congratulate Govan after the game.
“He said congrats and to keep working,” Govan said. “He wants me ready from Day 1.”
Despite scoring just three points in the first half, Govan dominated the second half and stepped up in a big way in the fourth quarter.
A pair of free throws by Rashond Salnave (11 points) cut the Bronx school’s lead to just 45-43 with 1:28 remaining, but Wings guard Randy Corporan found Govan in the paint for a two-handed dunk with 1:08 left. Three Govan free throws put the game away in the waning seconds.
“My teammates look for me a lot to close games out,” Govan said. “He gave me a good pass for an easy bucket and it was the turning point for us in the game.
Cardozo’s Armando Dunn did a respectable job in guarding the Wings center, but the forward said the matchup certainly was a tiring one that proved too much to handle in the end.
“It definitely makes a big difference,” Dunn said of Govan’s height advantage. “Fighting that size gets hard and it wears down on you.”
Judges coach Ron Naclerio, who remains one victory away from tying legendary Campus Magnet coach Chuck Granby for most PSAL victories in history with 722, said it’s almost impossible to matchup with someone of Govan’s size.
“Their size hurt us today,” Naclerio said. “Unfortunately, one or two rebounds were because he’s 6-11 and weighs 260 pounds. He’s like the jolly green giant.”
Govan will have a chance to get used to Madison Square Garden over the coming years, as the Hoyas will play in the 2K Sports Classic in November, not to mention subsequent Big East Tournaments and road contests against St. John’s. But playing in under the bright lights at MSG isn’t something that gets lost with the Queens product.
“You really don’t get how big of an atmosphere it is until you get out there,” he said. “It’s crazy, playing at the World’s Most Famous Arena. It’s ridiculous.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.