Ferris State Men Outlast Northern State for 1st National Title

McBain native and Ferris State coach Andy Bronkema led the Bulldogs to their first national title in his fifth year at the helm.

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota – Charlevoix native and National Player of the Year Zach Hankins scored 19 points and the Ferris State men’s basketball team made history by winning its first NCAA Division II national championship with a 71-69 victory over Northern State (S.D.) on Saturday.

The national title is the first by any athletic program at the school and ties Ferris State (38-1) with Winona State (Minn.) for most wins in a season for an NCAA Division II men’s basketball program.

Trailing most of the second half, Carter Evans gave Northern State a 69-66 lead with 2:55 left in regulation on a dunk. Peter Firlik would sink a pair at the free throw line with 2:08 remaining to bring the Bulldogs within one before Hankins connected on the go-ahead layup with 1:31 left.

The Bulldogs trailed throughout most of the opening quarter of Saturday’s title game before taking their first lead of the game at 33-31 on a layup by Noah King with 3:15 remaining before the half. Ferris State would bring a 39-37 lead to the locker room.

Firlik and Markese Mayfield joined Hankins in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively as Ferris State shot 47.3 percent (26-of-55) from the floor and was 16-of-22 from the line.

Evans paced the Wolves (36-4) with a game-high 20 points and five rebounds, while Darin Peterka and Logan Doyle tallied 14 points apiece.