Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Boys Report Week 12
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
February 28, 2022
We're hours from the beginning of March and less than a week from the start of the MHSAA Boys Basketball Tournament.
Although District seeds have been determined and brackets posted, there are still plenty of teams with plenty on the line as we finish up the regular season. We highlight some of those below, plus take a look at a few more contenders before switching into "Breslin Bound" playoff mode next week.
“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com. Send corrections or missing scores to [email protected].
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 65, Detroit U-D Jesuit 43 The Eaglets’ win over Detroit Catholic League Central champ Jesuit (12-5) in the Bishop Tournament semifinal set St. Mary’s (15-4) up to go on and down Detroit Catholic Central in the final.
2. Onaway 84, Mancelona 50 Onaway (18-1) clinched its first league title in this sport since 1963, defeating runner-up Mancelona (13-6) in the Ski Valley Conference.
3. Detroit Martin Luther King 66, Detroit Western 38 The Crusaders added the Detroit Public School League Tournament title to their PSL Blue championship with this win over PSL Gold winner Western (15-4).
4. Flint Beecher 63, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 60 The Bucs (17-1) appear ready for another Division 3 title run, that assumption backed up again by this close win over the Division 1 Cavaliers (13-5).
5. Macomb Dakota 65, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 45 These two shared the Macomb Area Conference Red title, but Dakota (14-5) claimed the MAC Red/White Tournament championship with its second win over the Big Reds (13-6) in three meetings this season.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Canton (15-4) The Chiefs opened this season with four consecutive losses (all to teams that have won at least 11 games). Canton has not lost since and will take on Hartland on Tuesday in hopes of adding the Kensington Lakes Activities Association Tournament title to the KLAA West championship clinched two weeks ago against the Eagles (15-4). The division title was the team’s first since 2018-19, and Canton then defeated Dearborn (15-4) in a KLAA Tournament semifinal.
Detroit Cass Tech (15-3) Although Cass Tech missed out on playing in the PSL Tournament final, having lost to Western in a semifinal, there is still plenty of reason to believe the Technicians could emerge as champs of one of the state’s strongest Districts next week. Cass lost to Western 57-51, and its other defeats to King and Clarkston (11-7) were both by five or fewer points. Meanwhile, the Technicians have downed Carman-Ainsworth, Detroit Southeastern (12-5), Detroit Edison (12-6), and Detroit Renaissance (11-7) twice, among others.
Carrollton (17-2) The Cavaliers have guaranteed themselves a share of the Tri-Valley Conference 10 title, and their two losses this season were by a combined seven points including by six to league rival Standish-Sterling (18-1). Carrollton also has a win over Standish and two apiece over Ithaca (15-5) and Hemlock (13-6). The Cavaliers were a one-point loss from making the Division 2 Quarterfinals last season and could be on the verge of a similar run.
Romulus Summit Academy (16-2) The Dragons have won 14 straight, including a perfect run through the Charter School Conference West and league tournament. Total, nine of their wins are over teams with at least 10 victories, with last week’s by 19 points over Romulus (11-4) sticking out recently along with victories over Warren Michigan Collegiate (13-2) by 22 and Edison by five during the league playoffs. Summit reached the Division 2 Quarterfinals a year ago after similar regular-season success.
Benzie Central (17-1) The Huskies downed Maple City Glen Lake 58-45 on Friday to win the Northwest Conference title, its first since 2011-12. It’s been a solid jump from finishing fourth and 10-9 overall last season, with the only loss this winter 64-56 in the first meeting against Glen Lake (15-5) on Jan. 25. All but two of Benzie’s wins have been by double digits and have included a pair over Buckley (14-4) and another over Lake Leelanau St. Mary (14-4).
Pewamo-Westphalia (14-4) Second-year coach Dominic Schneider has picked up where longtime coach Luke Pohl left off, leading the Pirates to a combined 26-7 record over the last two seasons. P-W clinched a share of the Central Michigan Athletic Conference title Friday and can claim it outright with a win in either of two games this week against teams at the bottom of the standings. The Pirates started the season 2-3, then won 12 straight before falling to undefeated Freeland (19-0) by six Saturday.
Southfield Christian (15-3) The Eagles are annual Finals contenders and reached the Quarterfinals last season before falling to eventual champion Detroit Douglass. Two of their three losses this winter were to Division 2 teams, Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard (13-4) and Detroit Country Day (11-7), with the third to Plymouth Christian Academy (11-7) resulting in their shared Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue title. Tuesday’s matchup with Clarkston Everest Collegiate (13-5) will provide more prep for the postseason.
Ubly (14-3) The Bearcats clinched their second-straight Greater Thumb Conference East championship outright last week and also posted an impressive win over Deckerville (14-5). Ubly’s losses were to GTC East third-place Memphis (13-6) twice, by a combined five points, and GTC West runner-up Bad Axe (17-2). The Bearcats could see Deckerville again next week as they pursue a repeat District title as well.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Hartland (15-4) at Canton (15-4) – As noted above, these two will meet for the KLAA Tournament championship after finishing second and first, respectively, in the West.
Tuesday – Menominee (17-2) at Ewen-Trout Creek (15-3) – Two of the Upper Peninsula’s best offer each other a final regular-season test heading into the playoffs.
Tuesday – Waterford Mott (14-3) at White Lake Lakeland (16-3) – Mott also must play South Lyon on Thursday, but has a half-game lead on Lakeland at the top of the Lakes Valley Conference standings after winning the first meeting 44-35 on Jan. 25.
Thursday – Flint Beecher (17-1) at Grand Blanc (13-5) – The Bobcats are not taking it easy during the last week of the regular season, taking on the Bucs after opening the week against River Rouge.
Thursday – Blanchard Montabella (17-1) at Carson City Crystal (16-3) – Montabella has a one-game lead in the Mid-State Activities Conference heading into this season finale, but the Eagles won the first meeting 45-42 on Jan. 26.
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PHOTO Flint Metro League Stripes champion Flushing downed Corunna 63-45 in nonleague play last week. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)
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.
But 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 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 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.