Beyond the Game: Park Christian's Hunter NickelMoorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Park Christian's boys basketball team is on the doorstep of making history, a win away from the state tournament for the 1st time and in tonight's Beyond the Game, Jody Norstedt shares the resilient story of the Falcons man in the middle.
By: Jody Norstedt, WDAY
Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Park Christian's boys basketball team is on the doorstep of making history, a win away from the state tournament for the 1st time and in tonight's Beyond the Game, Jody Norstedt shares the resilient story of the Falcons man in the middle.
Hunter Nickel had plenty of Park Christian fans cheering him on in Tuesday night's sub-section championship.
But, it's who wasn't there that gave him the motivation to lead his team to victory.
Hunter Nickel/Park Christian Sr. Center: “My dad's not here he is in Baltimore for a business trip and he said that he wanted to see my last senior game so he said go out there and win it.”
Nickel carried the load for the Falcons, scoring 25 of the team's 47 points and adding 8 rebounds, and 8 blocks.
In fact, Nickel ranks in the top-five of Minnesota's all-time block leaders, a group that includes a pair of former Gophers Joel Pryzbilla and Rick Rickert.
But, Hunter's story is much more special than numbers can tell you.
His senior year, started with heart break on the football field.
Nickel: “I had torn my ACL second game of the year.”
Erv Inniger/Park Christian Head Coach: “I saw him go down at the football game and I was at that game and I didn't think we'd have him for the season because if he'd have torn his ACL it would have been over.”
Luckily for Hunter, it was a partial tear. Something that he could rehab on his own.
Nickel: “I just had to work hard, like workout three times a day to get back to play basketball this year. So I did it and I'm playing.”
Duncan Hannestad/park Christian Sr. Guard: “He was in the gym every morning 7 AM, rehabbing it getting ready. His work ethic is ridiculous, it's motivating to us because he's got an amazing work ethic.”
Jared Olsgaard/Park Christian Sr. Guard: “This is his sport that he is made for he's 6'5, can jump out of the building and got arms like a monkey.”
Inniger: “Every time he goes up and comes down to the ground I'm sweating bullets.”
Nickel: “It's just something that I have to keep telling myself every time I step out on the court, this is a miracle that I'm even playing because I might not be, I might be on the bench watching. So just to be able to be on the court with them is just something I couldn't ask for.”
And clinching a trip to state with Dad in the stands on Friday would give this story a happy ending.
And you can watch Park Christian in action facing unbeaten Battle Lake, tip at 7 Live on the CW from Concordia in the 6A Championship..