VICKSBURG, Mich. (AP) - Wes Leonard's parents want the world to know they appreciate the outpouring of support they've gotten since their son died earlier this month after making a game-winning shot for Fennville High School.
Gary and Jocelyn Leonard spoke with The Associated Press on Monday night after Schoolcraft beat Fennville 86-62 in a Michigan Class C basketball regional playoff game.
"We couldn't get through it without everybody helping us," she said.
The 16-year-old Leonard had a cardiac arrest March 4 because of his enlarged heart.
Jocelyn Leonard said she'll never get over her loss, but she's getting through it because members of her son's team have spent the night at her house every night since his death.
"They don't want us to be alone," she said. "Their families have loaned them to us. They sleep on the floor because I can't let anyone in his room."
The family plans to create a cause in Wes Leonard's name to encourage others to avoid similar deaths with screenings.
"We're going to do something about prevention," Jocelyn Leonard said.
The Leonards said their 13-year-old son, Mitchell, got a clean bill of health from a cardiologist on Monday.
More than 3,500 people — including about 70 members of the media, including a crew filing a documentary — were shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip to witness Fennville's first loss after 23 victories, including three in the playoffs without its star player.
Before Schoolcraft (23-0) pulled away in the second quarter, Vicksburg High School volunteer Adrienne Groff pumped her right fist to passionately root for a team she didn't have a connection to just a month ago.
"How could you not cheer for them?" she asked. "They're America's sweethearts."
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