Bulldog men dominate basketball honors

BIG RAPIDS — After winning the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season championship for the second consecutive year, the Ferris State University men’s basketball squad was well-rewarded in the unveiling of the All-GLIAC squads announced earlier this month in conjunction with the league’s postseason banquet at the University Center on the FSU campus.

Ferris also won the league tournament the fourth straight season.

Junior center Zach Hankins (Charlevoix) was chosen as the GLIAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year in voting by the league’s member head coaches, earning the distinction for the second consecutive year after becoming the first-ever sophomore to receive the distinction in league history last campaign. He was also named to both the All-GLIAC First Team and the GLIAC All-Defensive Team.

Meanwhile, FSU head coach Andy Bronkema received GLIAC Coach of the Year honors for the second year in a row after guiding the Bulldogs to the league’s regular-season crown and a historic campaign.

In addition, senior guard Drew Cushingbery (Romeo) and senior forward Noah King (Detroit/Jesuit) also both earned All-GLIAC First Team honors while senior guard Peter Firlik (Grand Rapids/Catholic Central) claimed GLIAC All-Defensive Team recognition along with Hankins. It represents the first league mentions for both King and Firlik while Cushingberry and Hankins both garnered All-GLIAC First Team laurels for the second year in a row.

Hankins led the Bulldogs to a second consecutive outright GLIAC Regular-Season Championship this year as the Bulldogs became the first team in GLIAC North Division history to win 19 league games. Behind the play of the All-America center, Ferris State has posted a school-record 30 wins this year and climbed to No. 2 in the country with only a single setback on the year.

This season, Hankins has compiled 28 double-figure scoring performances and notched 10 rebounds or more in 15 contests while shooting 65 percent from the floor. He led the league in both rebounding (9.5 rpg.) and field goal percentage while also ranking among the league’s scoring leaders at nearly 15 points per contest. His play has led FSU to a school-record tying 18 consecutive wins and a perfect (17-0) home mark this campaign heading into the GLIAC Semifinals.

Now in his fifth season at the FSU helm, Bronkema has guided the Bulldogs to another historic season as FSU owns a school all-time best 32-1 overall record to date this year and is the nation’s No. 2 team prior to this weekend’s home NCAA regional.. This year, Bronkema led the Bulldogs to their second consecutive outright GLIAC regular-season championship as FSU became the first team in GLIAC North Division history to win 19 league games in a season. His leadership has also helped the Bulldogs post a school-record tying 18 consecutive wins entering the GLIAC Semifinals and a perfect record (17-0) at home this year. The Bulldogs qualified for their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

A four-year letterwinner, Cushingberry achieved all-conference recognition for the second consecutive year following a standout regular-season as the point guard spot. The 6-2 Cushingberry has ranked as the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.7 points per game and has also distributed a team-best 185 assists to go with 41 steals. He’s started all games for the Bulldogs and tallied 424 points to date with 103 rebounds.

King ranks as the Bulldogs third-leading scorer to date at a personal career-high 12.0 points per game and has been one of the league’s deadliest three-point shooters with 78 made three’s on the year. He’s also produced 95 rebounds with 63 assists and 19 steals while totaling 373 points this year. The senior standout is presently shooting 43percent beyond the arc this season and ranks second in Bulldog history with more than 200 career made three-point field goals.

Firlik has been a valuable standout at both ends of the floor with the ability to defend multiple positions. He’s compiled 264 points overall this year with 74 rebounds, 54 assists, 15 steals and 11 blocked shots. The three-year letterwinner is currently averaging 8.8 points along with 2.5 rebounds a game and has started 20 contests for FSU this campaign.

 

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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