Basketball star dies after winning shot in team’s perfect season
The score was tied. The game was in overtime. The mood, electric.
Number 35 came charging up to the net and hit a last-moment winning layup for his undefeated Fennville High School Blackhawks to end the regular season Thursday night with a perfect 20 wins.
The other players hoisted their star, 16-year-old Wes Leonard, on their shoulders. The screaming crowd charged the court to hug him. It was the biggest moment in memory for the tiny Michigan town of Fennville.
And then it all turned to black.
Silence fell under the harsh glare of the florescent lights. Leonard lay still on the court, pale in his school colors. His family and coaches surrounded him. He wasn’t breathing, his friend Arista Sauceda recalled. His heart had stopped cold.
After attempts to revive the varsity player in the gym, an ambulance transported him to nearby Holland Hospital. Doctors worked on him for an hour and 20 minutes.
They could not save him. By 10:40 at night, when Leonard should have been out celebrating with his classmates, he was dead.
An autopsy Friday determined that Leonard died of cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart, said a statement from Dr. David A. Start, the Ottawa County chief medical examiner.