Red Raiders rally together to help Barneveld athlete - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Red Raiders rally together to help Barneveld athlete

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Almann Brague and Mitchell Lash Almann Brague and Mitchell Lash
Jennifer Lease Jennifer Lease
Todd Fergot Todd Fergot
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

For the Central Red Raiders Boys Basketball Team, it's a second trip to State. 

As a school, teams have appeared at the State tournament 16 times, but the players know just how special the opportunity is in the larger scheme of things.

"Most people never play in a state title game and it's something that we'll always remember for our entire lives and I just want to thank our coaches for getting us prepared to make it to state two times in a row," expressed Senior, Almann Brague.

An even more unique experience for the seven seniors who have played together since they were little. 

"To see them grow together, both on and off the court. In the classroom, in the community it's just really a blessing to be a part of that all these years," said Head Coach, Todd Fergot.

SEE: Fast start sends Central basketball back to state

SEE: Central seniors cement legacy

The exciting atmosphere in the gym turned somber, when Activities Director, Joe Beran shared the story of Barneveld Sophomore Malcolm Reed who lost his mother, 38-year-old Jennifer Lease, following the Division 5 Sectional Championship Game the previous Saturday. 

"I think everyone knows that you need to keep life in perspective, you just never know what's going to happen day to day. You need to learn to celebrate when it's the right time to celebrate and take advantage of your opportunities, but just always know that it can end in a hurry," stressed Beran.

Collecting $1,706.58 as part of a miracle minute.

"It feels really good because obviously he's worked hard too, he made it all the way to state and for that to happen right after his game, it's really hard and I can't even imagine," added Brague and Mitchell Lash.

Jim Myers, the Barneveld Boys Basketball Coach, was previously the girls basketball coach and just so happened to coach Lease when she played, "Knowing his mother, she would say 'You get your butt out there and play'."

Proving that compassion in action, is much bigger than the game. 

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family to help with funeral costs. If you would like to help, click here.

Barneveld will play Columbus Catholic on Friday, March 17 at 10:45 a.m. in Division 5. Central will match-up against Waunakee at 1:35 p.m.

All games will air live on WXOW News 19. For updates or coverage on the go, check out the Magic of March app.

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