WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 29, 2011, 03:16 PM

Yellowjackets return home for their first home game since the collapse of Zach Gabbard

Perham, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Nine days after Zach Gabbard collapsed in front of fans and players, the Perham Basketball team played at home again. This season has become much more than winning a championship.

“He continues to change and affect our lives even as he fights for his.”

It was emotional scene the Prairie Wind Middle School gym today, where the Perham Yellow Jackets played their first home game since the collapse of Zach Gabbard. As line-ups were announced, each player on each team walked by a chair at center court with Zach's Jersey.

Dave Cresap: “It's been a very rough road, a lot of ups and downs. A lot of good things happen for Zach, and then things go bad. Overall it's been a pretty tough stretch.”

As this memorial covered in prayers sits outside Perham High School, Coach Dave Krespo says his players have been hit the hardest, but they keep fighting in Zach's memory.

Cresap: “They've been strong. They've showed a lot of character and they've given me what they can on the basketball court. In practice they've worked hard and I'm proud of them.”

The opposing team honored the Yellow Jackets with a memorial banner before tip-off.

Cresap: “It's been the most amazing thing I've ever seen. It's not just our community; it's all the communities around us, all the way to Denver Colorado, the Denver Nuggets and Ohio, and Pennsylvania. There's been a lot of support and we're making it through it, but it's been a very rough road for everybody.”

Not lost in the crowd was Zach's dad who hugged his son's teammates prior to the game. He declined an interview request, but said they still don't know what happened that terrible night, but right now Zach is resting.