It's kinda dusty in here...
After an unthinkable tragedy just four days ago, the undefeated Fennville (Mich.) High School basketball team will take the floor tonight in the first round of the Michigan state high school playoffs. I will be rooting for them.
And kudos to Fennville's classy opponent, Lawrence (Mich.) High School.
Good luck, Blackhawks. Play hard to honor your fallen teammate.
Facing an almost unthinkable dilemma, the Fennville (Mich.) High basketball team has opted to play its first state playoff game of the 2010 season on Monday night rather than bow out of a perfect season which took a tragic turn Thursday when star Wes Leonard collapsed and died on the court minutes after hitting a game-winning shot. Touchingly, the decision to play was made easier by the very team Fennville will be facing: Lawrence (Mich.) High.
According to the Associated Press and Detroit News, the Fennville team practiced on Saturday and officials from the school and team met with the Leonard family before deciding to play Monday's game. Additionally, with the cooperation of Lawrence (Mich.) High -- Fennville's playoff opponent -- the teams will play at Hope College's basketball arena, capacity 3,300, to allow more fans to attend the game.
While Hope College will technically be a neutral venue, it lies in Holland, Mich., which is the closest large town to Fennville. Yet despite the fact that Lawrence held a home court advantage, it will now travel more than an hour to the site of the game, whereas Fennville will have to drive less than 30 minutes to the postseason opener. The Tigers willfully handed over their home court advantage to help make it easier for Fennville to play ... and to allow more of the school's grieving fans to be there when the team takes the court for the first time without Leonard.
Leonard, who was the school's unquestioned star in both basketball and football (he was the team's starting quarterback), died of cardiac arrest as the result of an enlarged heart, a medical examination determined on Friday. That same day, his teammates and coaches had yet to determine whether they would play their scheduled playoff game on Monday, with the town still in the midst of the grieving process.