Men’s Basketball makes incredible comeback but falls short of championship title

Hamline Juniors Bradley Cimperman, Daniel McCarrell and Austin Holt (left to right) ready themselves at center court.
Hamline Juniors Bradley Cimperman, Daniel McCarrell and Austin Holt (left to right) ready themselves at center court.
Cal Athmann

The Hamline Men’s Basketball players walked into the lion’s den at Gustavus Adolphus University on Feb. 24 to fight for the MIAC Championship title. The arena was charged with anticipatory energy as all fans eagerly waited for the tip-off. The ball went to the Pipers with their star lineup consisting of McCarrell, Wherly, Ebel, Cimperman and Holt. Hamline drew first blood with a three-pointer and began the rigorous fight of points between the teams.
They trailed each other up the board, alternating which team had the lead for a while until Gustavus gained a significant ten point advantage at the end of the first half. Despite this gloomy tone settling over Hamline’s section, the Pipers glistened with sweat and the hope of fighting their way back above the Gusties.

Junior Bradley Cimperman looks for a pass in front of a line of painted Gustavus fans. (Cal Athmann)

Pipers collected fouls left and right, but that did not stop them from showing off their offensive strength. Their main muscles for the game were Brendan Ebel and Austin Holt. Sophomore Ebel blazed across the court the whole night as Hamline’s top scorer.
Frustration and anger poured out of Hamline’s section as whistles upon whistles blew against the Pipers, providing Gustavus with an excess of free throw points that only widened their ever-so-threatening lead. This 15 point deficit weighed like boulders on Hamline fans’ chests and painted looks of dread across their faces yet did not stop Hamline’s players from continuing to fight.
With force and passion, Pipers attacked the Gusties from behind with their offensive, defensive and team skills. They built up a great deal of steam and power with the help of supportive fans screaming, clapping and stomping to express their enthusiasm for the players.
The opportunity to take a lead over Gustavus diminished as the clock ran low. Yet, with less than one minute left, Hamline was only one point behind, having just closed a ten point gap. Spirits were high in the stadium for both teams as any outcome seemed possible. With only 8.3 seconds on the board, Cimperman made his way across the court only to find no clear shot to victory, leaving the buzzer to blare with Hamline one point short.
This does not quite signal the end of the season as there is the possibility of selection for the DIII NCAA Tournament which will be announced Feb. 26. Fortunately, even if the Pipers have to retire for the year, the majority of players are sophomores and juniors, meaning this team still has time to grow for next season when they can rock the court again.

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