NICOLLET - The Nicollet boy's basketball team learned to never underestimate an opponent on Monday night.
Emerging from halftime tied 33-33 with one-win Alden-Conger, Nicollet brawled it out for the 59-54 victory in Valley Conference boy's basketball.
Knowing Alden-Conger (1-14, 0-9 Valley) had one win to its name, Nicollet coach Jeff Zimmerman said his team's mindset was not what it should have been.
"Our kids kind of played with the attitude that 'we're just going to come in here and win tonight and just show up,'" said Nicollet coach Jeff Zimmerman. "And you know what? We had to battle."
The Raiders (7-5, 3-3) utilized a 10-2 run to take a 25-19 lead with five minutes to go in the first half. The Knights responded with a 14-4 run of their own to take a 31-29 lead in the span of three minutes.
A-C sophomore post Jacob Wallin scored six of his 10 first-half points within that 14-4 run. He finished with 14 points after battling Nicollet post Matt Christenson for a majority of the game.
"Matt's a good player, but I'll give [Wallin] credit," Zimmerman said. "He did a nice job, he didn't back down. A lot of games, Matt's able to muscle his way in, but they didn't back down."
Christenson finished with 12 points on 3-of-9 shooting and a 6-of-8 stand from the free-throw line.
Colin Bloemke led Nicollet with 14 points, while sophomore Gavin Nourie led all bench players with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting. All three of Nourie's misses were from 3-point range.
"He's our spark plug off the bench," Zimmerman said of Nourie. "He's usually one of the first guys in the game just to provide that extra energy, that extra lift on defense. He's always working hard, always getting after the loose balls, doing the little things right."
Nicollet returns to action at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at rival Madelia.
"Every game we have to get better," Zimmerman said. "I don't think we got better in the first half. Working toward that, it's gotten better as the year goes on. We're still working on it."
Alden-Conger 33 21 - 54
Nicollet 33 26 - 59
Opsahl 1-4 0-0 2, Neel 5-12 3-3 16, E Hallman 2-11 3-3 9, Erickson 0-3 0-0 0, Wallin 7-13 0-0 14, Lerum 2-6 0-2 5, J Hallman 2-10 1-1 6, Bute 0-1 2-2 2.
Bloemke 5-15 4-8 14, Wills 3-7 3-4 9, Hendrycks 4-11 0-2 9, M Fischer 1-7 1-2 4, Christenson 3-9 6-8 12, Nourie 4-7 1-2 9, Otto 1-4 0-0 2.