glory days: wings II

When last we checked in on coach Billy Turnage and his Wings Academy varsity basketball team in the winter of 2014, they were in the process of winning the Bronx borough high school title, and once more heading to the New York City Public School Athletic League (PSAL) playoffs. (There they would, once again, lose early.) Opened in 1994 inside a former box factory in the midst of the poorest congressional district in the nation, Wings Academy has punched above its athletic weight from the very beginning. Last year the small high school (less than 500 students) with the big heart reached the PSAL basketball semifinals for the fifth time in its short history.

In 2015, they did it for the sixth time—but this year would prove different. On March 7, Turnage and Wings finally broke their playoff jinx by beating Brooklyn’s top-seeded Thomas Jefferson, behind the performances of the team’s two leaders, senior point guard Desure Buie and senior center Jessie Govan. Next up: Madison Square Garden and the city championship. In their way is one last hurdle: defending city champions Benjamin Cardozo, who’d previously handed Wings its only loss of the season. For glory to finally be theirs, the team will have to band together like never before.

Directed by Duffy Higgins for Victory Journal’s “Glory Days”