Reliving the Pipers’ best season in four decades

Coach Hayes and company meet during a timeout in a thrilling MIAC title game where the Pipers fell by just one point.
Coach Hayes and company meet during a timeout in a thrilling MIAC title game where the Pipers fell by just one point.
Cal Athmann

The Pipers men’s basketball squad wrapped up their season this past weekend, signifying a new era of Piper basketball. The Starting five of Austin Holt, Bradley Cimperman, Brendan Ebel, Daniel McCarrell, and Mick Wherley cemented themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the MIAC, with Cimperman averaging roughly 15 ppg and Holt matching that feat while also notching 9.8 rebounds per game.
After starting the regular season off with a 5–6 record, the Pipers would string off seven straight wins. One of these games was a huge 74–73 victory over St. John’s which was, at the time, the biggest win of the year.
Going into the game, Hamline held on to the number two seed in the MIAC and was looking to upset the conference powerhouse in a big way. With the help of some late game heroics, the Pipers were able to pull out the huge win against the Johnnies.
“I feel like I kinda blacked out after the win,” Holt said. “I remember just kicking and screaming and going crazy. The amount of juice that I had after that was the most I have ever had before.”
During the final stretch of the season, however, the Pipers would go 3–4, bumping them down to the number 4 seed in the MIAC tournament.
“Despite going into the playoffs on somewhat of a cold stretch,” Head Coach Jim Hayes said, “We are very proud of the work our guys put in […] it is another step towards the top of the MIAC.”
Going into the MIAC playoffs as the fourth seed, the Pipers would host the Concordia-Moorhead Cobbers in the first round. Both teams had one at their own respective home courts in matchups earlier in the season. Hamline’s first home playoff game since 2011 did not disappoint, with the Pipers dominating 73–55. Three Pipers reached double digits in the contest, that being Holt, Cimperman, and McCarrell. The Pipers utilized the paint as well as their size advantage to help push them to the semi-finals.“We matched up well with Concordia, we have pretty big, strong guards that make it tough for them to defend us in those positions,” Cimperman said after the game.
The MIAC semifinals saw the Pipers face the Johnnies of St. John’s University, this time in hostile territory. Both teams were on point in the first, resulting in a tie ballgame going into the half. Following another back and forth half, the Johnnies hit a game tying three with 4 seconds left. Without missing a beat, the Pipers quickly worked down the court and Bradley Cimperman hit the shot of his life; a game winning, buzzer beater three to send the Pipers to their first MIAC championship since 1985. Hamline’s own “Superman” led the team with 26 points on top of his heroics.
In the MIAC championship game, the Pipers took on the red hot Gustavus team who had just taken out the number 2 seed Carleton Knights in double overtime. As the clock ticked down on the final minutes, the Pipers clawed their way back to cut the lead to only one point, spearheaded by the scorching hot Brenden Ebel. Despite the late comeback, unfortunately no heroics were in store for the Pipers as they would go on to fall to the Gusties 72–71.
Although the tournament did not end the way they wanted it to, the Pipes still have much to look forward to, especially as their entire starting five will be coming back for round two in the 2024–2025 season to wreak havoc across the MIAC.

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