Basketball Player Dies After Hitting Winning Shot

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FENNVILLE, Mich. — A western Michigan high school basketball player collapsed on the court and later died after making the game-winning shot to cap his team’s perfect season.

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Fennville High School basketball player Wes Leonard, 16, died Thursday night, Holland Hospital spokeswoman Deb Patterson said. A cause of death has not yet been determined.

“It’s tough to take in,” Leonard’s teammate Shane Bale, told The Holland Sentinel. “It’s like somebody from your family, you know?”

Paramedics performed CPR on Leonard before he was pronounced dead at the hospital, Patterson said.

Leonard had scored the game-winning layup in a 57-55 win over Bridgman in overtime to cap Fennville’s 20-0 season. He fell to the ground after teammates and fans rushed the court.

“Obviously, in the midst of celebration, I think shocking is exactly the word,” Fennville Superintendent Dirk Weeldreyer told the paper before Leonard’s ambulance left the high school.

Leonard also was a quarterback for the high school football team.

He’s the second Fennville athlete to die in 14 months. Wrestler Nathaniel Hernandez died in January of 2010 after suffering a seizure at home following his participation in a high school wrestling match. He was 14.

In an interview with the Sentinel at Tuesday’s practice, Fennville coach Ryan Klingler talked about how Leonard had a great drive to succeed and that he saw the “bigger picture.”

VIDEO OF WES LEONARD

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