Trusting the process

Ferris men’s basketball looks for championship success again this season

The Ferris men’s basketball team is coming off their second straight conference win on Saturday, Dec. 2, with a 91-57 victory over the Ashland Eagles. 

The nationally fifth-ranked Bulldogs were led in scoring by senior guard Drew Cushingberry with a game-high 22 points and senior forward Noah King was second with 16 points. 

Ferris junior center Zach Hankins added another double-double to his resume with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Ferris led by more than 34 points in the second half to help them race away with the victory. 

Last season, the two teams met up in the GLIAC Tournament championship game at Wink Arena, during which the Bulldogs defeated Ashland. 

Ferris is returning 10 of its 11 players from last year and the success hasn’t slowed down. 

The team is coming off three straight GLIAC Tournament championships and three straight National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament appearances. Last season’s 28 wins by the Bulldogs is the most in the 90 years of Ferris basketball. 

Ferris is 75-24 over the last three years, which is the greatest stretch in school history. 

“It’s important having the experience our team has, especially in conference games, because conference is a level up from non-conference and just knowing how hard you have to compete,” Ferris senior forward Peter Firlik said. “Our young guys are learning a lot and quickly, so it’s a good system right now.” 

With the victory, the team is 10-0 overall on the season and are 1-0 in GLIAC play thus far. The team is also a staggering 8-0 at Wink Arena this season. 

“In the offseason we worked out very hard and tried to get to the gym as much as possible,” King said. “I think the two weeks of practice before playing in the Windsor game helped us get a feel for each other as a unit as well.” 

The Bulldogs are averaging 85 points per game and are shooting 50 percent from the field. Ferris is first in their conference in total scoring, second in field goal percentage and second in rebounds. 

“We play with a chip on our shoulder all the time. No matter how much we win or what we win, we feel like we need to prove more,” Firlik said. 

The team is led in scoring with Cushingberry averaging 16 points per game and Hankins and King are second in scoring with 12.5 points per game. 

Hankins leads the league with 3.2 blocks per game and Cushingberry is leading the league with 6.8 assists per game. 

Ferris Head Coach Andy Bronkema is entering his fifth season with the Bulldogs and most recently named the National Division II Coach of the Week. 

“Coach Bronkema stresses playing for each other and communicating and playing our brand of basketball,” King said. “Some of our season goals are to host the GLIAC tournament and get to the Elite Eight.” 

The team will look to continue their success as they get set to face off in their first of a three game away stand against the Northwood Timberwolves 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7.

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