MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s 2011 State Boys’ Basketball Tournament is underway and everyone’s attention is focused on one team — Perham.
They are cheering for Zach Gabbard, Perham’s star player who collapsed during a game in January when his heart stopped.
Wearing jerseys with Zach’s No. 3 on the back, the Perham boys basketball team made its first appearance ever in the state tournament at Williams area this evening.
Zach’s name was also scribbled on every shoe and in the hearts and minds of every player and fans who came out to cheer this team on.
“It feels amazing we came here. Look at all of us. We’re going to win this thing. We’re going to win for Perham. We’re going to win for Zach,” said Perham Junior Klaus Weber.
It’s been their dream come true and everything with Zach has helped push us all the way its really been a dream but its kind of like a fairy tale,” said Perham Junior Becky Stoll.
Since Zach collapsed on Jan. 20, he has served as an inspiration for both players and fans. They’ve dedicated their run at the state title to him.
“The coach always says what are we fighting for, and he points at his shirt. It says ‘one clap for Zach,’” said Stoll.
It was more than one clap, more like a roar when Zach once again took center court for all to see.
Zack’s wish had come true. He made it to the game.
“He said, ‘all I want to do is get outside. I wish I could be on the court with them.’ And so it’s awesome seeing him on the court with them this time,” Stoll said.
Although he can’t play, he watched and knows his team mates are giving everything they can on the court, and it’s all for him.
Perham beat Virginia 57 – 40.