Then again, the Ada-Borup faithful's cardio was put through its paces just two days prior to the title game, so the fans were in shape for another show, and it got one.
It ended in their liking too, as the Cougars outlasted Fertile-Beltrami to a 60-56 win.
"It didn't come easy tonight," Ada-Borup coach Trevor Stewart said. "But it's games like these with the playoff atmosphere which gets us ready for just that, playoffs."
A packed gymnasium, title being fought for and a small lead at the game's end - all characterizing a postseason game - were present Saturday.
4 minutes into the game, Ada-Borup (20-3) held a 10 point lead created by steals turned into transition buckets, and it was Lance Ruebke who pioneered the hot start.
"We pushed the ball hard after our defense created turnovers, and that's what coach expected us to do," the junior point guard said. "If we can get out and run on a team, it leads to good things like it did tonight, but we need to work on sustaining what we build."
Case in point: Ada-Borup allowed Fertile-Beltrami (13-9) to develop an 11-2 run with 6:14 to play in the first half, completely demolishing the gap the Cougars' had constructed - and the main player who took a wrecking ball to the deficit was Mitchell Mosher, who scored over half of his team's total with 32 points.
"We definitely lost our patience and panicked more than we really should have after we started so well," Stewart said. "But it seems that whenever the game demands either team to step up to decide a winner, we usually provide the solution."
The solution to the unending scoring pendulum of 12 lead changes was a triple nailed by Blake Fetting (19 points) to break a 51-51 tie into a 54-51 lead with 4:07 to play. After a Fertile-Beltrami field goal, the Cougars received a gutsy two points, as Mitchell Ruebke pin-pointed a 20-foot pass from the top of the key all the way to the baseline, hitting a cutting JD Kappes to push the lead to five points.
Lance Ruebke would then secure it even further by hitting both bonus free throws to make it 60-53 with 1:12 to play, capping off his 16 point performance.
"Although sloppy at times, this win does a lot for our confidence," Stewart said. "It means a lot to bring the conference title back to Ada-Borup, and it gives the guys a taste of what they'll be shooting for when playoffs start."