FENNVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - The Fennville varsity basketball player who hit the game-winning layup in overtime on Thursday night -- lifting his team to a perfect 20-0 season -- collapsed on the court after the game, and later died at Holland Hospital.
Wes Leonard, 16, was a junior at the high school.
An autopsy revealed Wes Leonard died from "cardiac arrest due to dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)," Ottawa County's chief medical examiner Dr. David A. Start's office told 24 Hour News 8.
Visitation for Wes Leonard will be Sunday, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Fennville United Methodist Church. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Christ Memorial Church in Holland.
Staff at the school told 24 Hour News 8 a parent at the game -- who is an EMT -- started performing CPR on Leonard as soon as he collapsed. Emergency responders arrived and spent an hour and 20 minutes performing CPR on the teen as he arrived at the hospital, a spokesman told 24 Hour News 8.
He got to Holland Hospital in cardiac arrest at 9:20 p.m. and died at 10:40 p.m., a hospital spokeswoman added.
Former Hope College basketball coach Glenn Van Wieren watched the game from about 10 feet behind the Fennville bench. He coached Fennville basketball coach Ryan Klingler in the the 1990s. He watched as the excitement of a perfect season turned to tragedy.
As Wes Leonard was treated on the gym floor, the rest of the team gathered with their coaches in the locker room, holding hands, crying and praying, Van Wieren said.
"You can imagine what a shock this is to the community," Fennville Middle School Principal Jodi Martin said. "He was a kind young man -- an all-American kid everybody liked. He was an outstanding athlete who also strove academically. He had aspirations to go to college."
Leonard was "really popular," said JR Govea, a freshman at Fennville High. "(He was) a good kid -- friendly; someone I looked up to."
Read more about Leonard in The Holland Sentinel.
With the game tied 55-55 in overtime against Bridgman, Leonard drove the lane and sank the game-winning layup. Fennville won 57-55 for the undefeated regular season. Watch the video, at left, for highlights from the matchup.
Leonard's mother, Jocelyn Leonard, is the vocal music director at Fennville Middle School and the high school. She also works as the drama director, and canceled Thursday night's performance of "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying," because she wanted to watch her son play in the matchup; as it was a make-up game, to compensate for when February's blizzard canceled events across West Michigan.
Wes Leonard scored more than 1,000 career points in basketball. He played on the football team, as well. His team begins district play Monday.
Dirk Weeldreyer, superintendent of Fennville Public Schools, released this statement --
"Last night was a long and emotional night. Our community is shocked and stunned. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the Leonard family. We can't even begin to imagine their grief, and our hearts ache for them. Wes Leonard was the quintessential all-American kid. He had a great grin and was always cheerful. Younger kids throughout the community looked up to him and idolized him. Wes was strong and powerful. As the quarterback of our championship football team, he could throw a dart forty yards down the field. He had the body of a linebacker, but brought the ball up the floor for our 20-0 basketball team. Beyond his outstanding athletic abilities, Wes was a better person. His fellow students liked and respected him. Their grief speaks volumes about the high regard in which Wes was held. The statements issued by Holland Hospital last night represent all that we know at this time pertaining to the medical details. Following the news of Wes' passing, Fennville Methodist Church was open through the night and many students and Fennville community members gathered there to grieve together. We know that this tragedy will have an impact today here at school. Our district crisis team met early this morning and we have held staff meetings in each of our buildings. We have a number of grief counselors who are available for students throughout the day. I'd like to thank all the other Allegan County school districts who have sent counselors to be on hand to assist our students today -- we very much appreciate their support. Many other schools and counseling organizations have also reached out with offers of assistance and we will utilize them as necessary. We will be releasing information as it becomes available to us through our Fennville Public Schools Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fennvillepublicschools."
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