MADISON, Wis. - The Barneveld High School boys' basketball team's 58-28 win over Shullsburg Saturday in the WIAA Division 5 tournament capped off an emotional state championship run for BHS sophomore Malcolm Reed and his family.
Reed's mother, Jennifer Lease, 38, died unexpectedly last week before he and the Eagles were set to play Watertown. Lease was a member of the 1995 state champion Barneveld girls' basketball team.
Despite their grief over his mother's death, Reed and his team played through it and won the championship.
"Jen would do anything for those boys," Nicholas Owen, Lease's boyfriend, said. "I know she's here with us today; it's just a great win. All the support from Barneveld -- it's just huge for the community, huge for the team, huge for everybody."
Charly Jordan, Reed's grandmother, was ecstatic over Saturday's victory.
"She's been right here with us hanging with us today, Thanks Jen, this is for you," Jordan said. "Thank you."
"I think she'd be saying how proud she is of Malcolm, how proud she is of the team," Owen said of the win.
Jordan said she provided Reed with daily encouragement during the tough times.
"Every night before he (went) to bed, I give him encouraging words," Jordan said. "In the morning when he wakes up before he goes out the door...grandma's got encouraging words for him. He's a great kid, he's a great kid."
Owen said the entire team and the Barneveld community deserves gratitude for their support during the family's difficult time.
"(I'm) really proud of them," Owen said. "Thank you to everyone who supported us."
At a postgame pep rally at the BHS gymnasium, Reed expressed his thanks to the community.
"This week has been pretty tough for all of us and you guys have been here all week," Reed said. "All the support that you've given me, my family and the whole team has been amazing."