PINE GROVE — Hours after Samantha Lengel passed away, her teammates, school and community honored her at a basketball game.
Lengel, 17, was a star basketball and softball player at Pine Grove Area High School.
School officials said she collapsed in the high school parking lot Tuesday. Thursday morning, she passed away.
“The family’s thought was, what they related to us was, that Sam would want us to play and Sam would want us to win,” said Scott Dimon, Pine Grove athletic diretor.
Play they did, wearing Sam’s number, 52, and gold arm bands for their angel.
Lengel hurt her knee playing basketball earlier this season.
She was the starting center for the Lady Cardinals.
“Would do anything for her, I think in the three years I coached her, I don’t think I ever heard one complaint. Always smiling. Just a very sad situation,” said Coach Chris George.
Coach George said Sam’s teammates are in a lot of pain.
Parents said they are in shock, too.
“I can’t, I can’t imagine, there’s no words, I wrote a long poem for the kids this morning and, you know, sat down with my daughter before she had to go to school and read the poem to her and the prayer and it’s really all I could do,” said Tamara Lesh, whose daughter played basketball with Sam.
Those who knew Samantha say they will never forget her.
“Outstanding student athlete, great kid, you always hear this at this time and and I was thinking about it today, Billy Joel was right,” said Dimon.
Lengel passed away at Hershey Medical Center. The coroner in Dauphin County is not yet releasing the cause of death.
The Lady Cardinals beat Blue Mountain 57 – 41.