Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Report Post-Break

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 10, 2023

“Showcase Season” gave fans plenty to watch over the holiday break, and plenty to help us look forward to these next two months as we push through the midwinter grind of another boys basketball season.

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More than 200 games were played from Dec. 26-30 alone in events on both sides of Mackinac Bridge, and we glance at some of those below and preview some of what to watch as calendar year 2023 gets further underway.  

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:

1. Grand Rapids Catholic Central 65, Warren De La Salle Collegiate 55 After opening the season with three defeats, including the third detailed below, reigning Division 2 runner-up GRCC (3-3) earned the most notable victory of the Motor City Roundball Classic over reigning Division 1 champion De La Salle (6-2).

2. Port Huron Northern 70, Hamtramck 69 The Huskies (6-0) followed up a three-point win over Ann Arbor Skyline two days earlier at the Motor City with this strong statement at the North Farmington Holiday Extravaganza.

3. Warren De La Salle Collegiate 38, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 34 In a Detroit Catholic League Central where all five teams have realistic MHSAA championship possibilities, every win counts even more – and in this one the Pilots handed Brother Rice (8-1) its lone defeat.

4. Detroit Cass Tech 59, Grand Rapids Northview 42 The Technicians (8-0) dealt the lone loss of the season to Northview (6-1), a Division 1 semifinalist last winter, at the Motor City.

5. Muskegon 81, Grand Rapids Catholic Central 79 (OT) The also-undefeated Big Reds (5-0) had their closest call of the early season with this nail-biter at the Hall of Fame Classic at Reeths-Puffer.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:


Detroit Cass Tech (8-0) After coming up just a two-point loss short of making the Division 1 Semifinals last season, the Technicians have completed a second-straight undefeated December. The win over Northview (see above) was of course noteworthy, but also one of seven double-digit victories so far. Also among the early notables was an 81-50 win over Saginaw Heritage at the PSL Holiday Classic. Circle Jan 20, when Cass faces Martin Luther King in a rematch of last season’s runner-up and champion, respectively, from the Public School League Blue.

Grand Haven (7-0) The Buccaneers surged to 18-4 last season and could be in the midst of climbing another step. They finished second in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red, after splitting with eventual champion Rockford, and won the first meeting with the Rams this winter 59-53 on Friday. A 20-point victory over Dearborn is becoming a nice bonus with Dearborn’s continued success, and Grand Haven also swept its Lakeshore Cup Tournament with what remain the only losses this season for Petoskey and Traverse City St. Francis.


Boyne City (6-1) A season-opening overtime loss to St. Ignace didn’t knock Boyne City off track, as the Ramblers have been undefeated the rest of the way with arguably their most impressive victories back-to-back over Marquette and Negaunee to finish December. Boyne City also avenged its District loss to Sault Ste. Marie with a 16-point victory and downed Elk Rapids 60-57 after falling twice to the Elks during 2021-22 when the Ramblers placed third and Elk Rapids second to Traverse City St. Francis in the Lake Michigan Conference.

Corunna (6-1) The Cavaliers are making last season’s 9-12 finish a distant memory quicky, with their only loss so far to still-undefeated Laingsburg and four wins over teams sitting .500 or better. Along the way Corunna already has avenged two last-season losses to Lake Fenton and another against Detroit University Prep Art & Design. Undefeated Goodrich tonight should provide another helpful measuring stick.


Laingsburg (8-0) The Wolfpack are almost always solid and appear to be moving back toward spectacular with this start. In addition to the win over Corunna (see above), Laingsburg has won its first three league games including by 18 over last year’s Central Michigan Athletic Conference champion Pewamo-Westphalia. That and the 18-point Corunna win are the Wolfpack’s closest victories through the season’s first third.

St. Ignace (6-1) The Saints started out with a special win, 79-74 over Boyne City in overtime, and Monday’s 67-65 loss to Division 2 Gaylord was the first obstacle they’ve met this winter. A 65-60 win over Rudyard remains that opponent’s only loss, and St. Ignace also traveled down for the Motor City Roundball Classic to defeat Center Line 56-51. The Saints are looking to catch Rudyard in the Straits Area Conference after finishing runner-up to the Bulldogs a year ago.


Lake Leelanau St. Mary (8-0) The Eagles followed a Regional Finals run in 2021 with a Semifinals run last season, and they’re rolling again with no win closer than 13 points this winter. St. Mary won the Will Lynch Invitational at Benzie Central, defeating reigning Division 3 runner-up Menominee 63-45 in a semifinal. The Eagles do not play in a league, but their schedule the rest of the way includes several strong small-school teams.

Munising (9-0) The Mustangs haven’t lost more than three games in a season over the last three, and could be headed toward running that streak to four seasons with only one single-digit game so far this winter – a 56-50 win over Ishpeming. Munising’s only losses last season were twice to Powers North Central and once to Rudyard; the Mustangs see Rudyard on Feb. 8 and North Central twice that month.

Can’t-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up: 

Tuesday – Flint Beecher (6-0) at Flint Hamady (6-0) – In the first of two regular-season matchups this season, Hamady will attempt to end Beecher’s nine-game winning streak in the series.

Thursday – Petoskey (7-1) at Cadillac (6-0) – Early returns in the Big North Conference make these two the likely favorites after Cadillac shared the title and Petoskey tied for third last season.

Thursday – Grand Ledge (5-1) at Okemos (8-0) – In what’s shaping up to be a deep Capital Area Activities Conference Blue, these two are shaping up as top contenders.

Saturday – Benton Harbor (5-1) vs. North Farmington (6-1) at Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills – This may be the premier matchup of the annual MLK Day Hoops Classic.

Saturday – Warren Michigan Collegiate (5-1) vs. Detroit Renaissance (7-3) at Ferndale – This matchup should conclude the Horatio Williams Foundation MLK Freedom Classic in a big way.'s weekly “Breslin Bound” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO Grand Blanc and East Lansing face off during Saturday's Carmody Classic, with the host Bobcats victorious 65-61. (Photo by Terry Lyons.) 

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

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

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.