2,241 Reasons to Watch Chris Hass

February 14, 2012

Chris Hass began his freshman basketball season with his sights set on breaking an MHSAA career record.

But if you’ve heard at all of the Pellston High standout, it’s probably not the record you’d think.

Hass is one of just 34 players in MHSAA history to score at least 2,000 points. Only nine players have scored more than his 2,241 points heading into Wednesday’s game against Bellaire.

That record he wanted to break? Career assists, of course. And Hass has a bunch of those too. But the 6-foot-5 senior clearly is known for scoring in bunches few in MHSAA history have equaled.

“For me, it wasn’t something where it was my goal. I definitely feel honored to play on a team that’s willing to give me an opportunity to do that,” Hass said. “I guess it’s a big deal in northern Michigan, getting our name out there. Pellston is a small school, and to hit 2,000 points, it’s starting to get Pellston on the map, which is what the community deserves.”

Hass earned one of this week’s MHSAA High 5s not just for the ridiculous numbers he’s put up this season and over the last four, but for how he’s led the Class D Hornets into at least a glimmer of the state spotlight.

Pellston is 14-1 and can avenge its lone loss tonight against Bellaire, which beat the Hornets 75-58 on Jan. 17. Bellaire is ranked No. 1 and Pellston No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press Class D state poll.

Hass has a history with Bellaire – he scored 26 points in the fourth quarter alone before fouling out in a loss last season to Eagles. That’s the fourth-most points scored in a quarter in MHSAA history – and just one of the many listings Hass has or will have in the record book after his high school career ends sometime next month.

This season, he’s averaging 30.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, six assists, 4.5 steals and 2.5 blocked shots per game. He’s always been a strong ball-handler and continues to man the point despite an ability to play any position. He’s making 55 percent of his shots from the floor – including an incredible 52-percent success clip from 3-point range (he’s made 40 from beyond the arc).

“On nights when we really don’t need him to (score), he almost disappears into the background a little bit to get his teammates involved,” Cliff Hass said. “It’s really about the team, chemistry. He’s always one of the leaders trying to get chemistry (right). Does he love to have that 57-point night? That’s great, but he’s all about winning.”

So much so that Chris Hass almost committing to play next for Bethel College (Ind.), which has won seven NAIA national championships under its current coach, before settling on Bucknell after falling in love with the program and campus during a visit. There, Hass will join 2011 Petoskey graduate Cory Starkey on a team that made the NCAA Tournament last season.

"First and foremost, Chris is just a terrific scorer," said Bucknell coach Dave Paulsen in his program’s early-signing day press release. "He is an excellent shooter with great range, but he is also athletic and `bouncy' and can get to the rim. We expect that Chris will be able to give us a real explosive offensive presence from the perimeter."

Hass’ point total is exactly 600 short of the MHSAA record set by Mio’s Jay Smith from 1976-79. It’s unlikely Hass will break that record – he’d have to average 50 points a game through the MHSAA Final just to tie it – but being in the conversation is something special in itself.

Filling it up is nothing new in the Hass family. Older sister Stephanie Hass held the MHSAA girls scoring record with 2,732 points for a decade until Central Lake’s Jasmine Hines broke it last season. Hass, who played high school at Harbor Springs Harbor Light Christian – and then at Saginaw Valley State University – finished with a career scoring average of 31.4 points per game, tops in the record book.

And she never took it easy on her little brother.

Chris Hass remembered once, when he was 8 or so, getting so angry during a game of one-on-one that he started throwing rocks at his sister. But he also watched and emulated how she worked to improve her game. And around 12 years old, he beat her one-on-one for the first time.

“I do see similarities in both, offensively; ball-handling was probably their number one attribute. It’s the first thing I really noticed,” said Cliff Hass, their father and also Pellston’s boys varsity coach. “(And) they both developed that mentality of being able to score at any time.

“I tell all the players I coach, if you touch the ball 94 feet away (from the basket), your first goal is to score from 94 feet away. Being in the mentality of looking to score, you put pressure on the defense, and they have to stop you. And they might need a second person to try to stop you. “

Chris echoes his dad’s philosophy. But he wanted to make sure people saw him as more than a scorer. At Harbor Light in sixth and seventh grade, he’d been mostly a distributor passing to Collin Hewitt, who now plays at Spring Arbor. But Hass switched to his dad’s school for ninth grade, and began switching roles as well.

He still tries to get as many assists as he can. But although Pellston has other scorers (senior Andy Hamlin tallied his 1,000th career point this season), Hass knows for the Hornets to continue this run – and get a chance to show what they can do against competition from further down state – he needs to keep putting up the points. 

“When you say you’re from the Petoskey area, people have no idea where that is,” Hass said. “Knowing we finally maybe might get some respect, I’m definitely excited about it.”

Little Provides Major Stride as 1st Woman to Officiate Boys Hoops Final since 1995

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

April 13, 2023

Delonda Little was already a trailblazer to many before this year’s MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals.

Greater DetroitBut what happened last month at Breslin Center made her even more of one on a statewide level.

A referee and assigner for 20 years in the Detroit area, Little is a female boys and girls basketball official who mentors both male and female referees – no matter the gender or level, as she officiates high school and college games.

Officials often go to Little for guidance, direction and assignments, which has made her respected for years throughout Metro Detroit in the prep basketball community. Then, her status as a trailblazer grew even more.

Little was assigned as an official for the Division 3 Boys Basketball Final between Flint Beecher and Traverse City St. Francis, and she became the first female referee to officiate an MHSAA Boys Basketball Final since Traverse City’s Barb Beckett 1995.

“It was a very good feeling to know I was the one selected,” said Little, who officiated the Final with Matt Olson and Zach Porritt.  

In fact, while attending a Semifinal game the Friday before the Final, Little received a phone call from an area code she didn’t recognize.

She answered, and it was Beckett.

“At first I didn’t know the name,” Little said. “I said, ‘No, I don’t know you, but that’s fine.’”

Beckett then explained she was the first female referee to be assigned a Boys Basketball Final, and just wanted to offer support to Little.

At that point, Little became excited and thankful she answered the call.

“It was very nice to hear from her because she wanted to reach out and if not pass the torch, to congratulate me,” Little said.

Little, 51, said she found out she was going to be refereeing the Division 3 boys championship game just before the start of the postseason when she received an email from the MHSAA.

“I’m looking at the email and I’m like, boys?” Little said. “I was shocked.”

But she was shocked in a good way, and obviously excited for the honor.

Little monitors the action between Flint Beecher and Traverse City St. Francis.Little didn’t find out until a couple of days before the St. Francis/Beecher contest that she would be officiating that specific championship game, but the Monday of boys championship week was when she really started to receive congratulations from friends and colleagues.

That’s when an article came out in the Detroit News detailing her selection, which led to countless calls, texts and congratulatory messages on social media.

“I couldn’t even (keep up with the comments),” she said. “That’s how overwhelming the actual tags were. It came from all across the state with officials, men and women, because I do women’s college (games). Some of the college ladies were reaching out. I was getting all the hoopla before the game.”

Little said she normally doesn’t get nervous for games, but not having some nerves became a bit harder once so many people knew of her achievement.

However, she settled into a normal routine quickly once the game started.

“I wanted to get it done, get it over with and do well,” she said.

Little did do well, which is no surprise to everyone who knew her before she officiated on the boys championship stage.

It was just another feather in the cap for Little, who in 2016 became the first woman to officiate a boys Detroit Public School League championship game.

“Delonda is one of the top officials in the Detroit area, and our staff doesn’t look at Delonda as a female working a boys game – we see one of the top officials in Detroit working a basketball game,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “There are females officiating in the NBA and female officials in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The aspect that made Delonda’s selection for this MHSAA championship game nearly unique will soon be the norm at all levels of athletics.”     

Little graduated from Detroit Osborn in 1989 and starred on the basketball court at Wayne State, earning induction into WSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

Her day job is as an officer for the Michigan Department of Corrections, but her passion is officiating. She’s been an MHSAA-registered official for basketball for two decades and also was registered for volleyball for four years. This past fall she registered for football for the first time.

“I get something from it because it keeps me in shape, I love the people I work with and I like the kids,” Little said. “You are always teaching, and I like training the newer officials. I just enjoy it. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t refereeing.”

Going forward, Little hopes her championship game assignment will now be an inspiration for other female referees.

“There aren’t very many women who would like to work boys basketball or feel comfortable,” Little said. “If that’s something they desire, I’m hoping more women are selected to work the games if they feel comfortable.”

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties

PHOTOS (Top) Delonda Little takes her position on the court during the Division 3 Boys Basketball Final on March 25 at Breslin Center. (Middle) Little monitors the action between Flint Beecher and Traverse City St. Francis.