Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Report Week 11

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

February 20, 2023

We’re less than a week from taking thousands of results from this season and crunching the numbers to seed the top two teams in 128 MHSAA Boys Basketball Districts. Those will be published Sunday.

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But if you think everything is wrapped up for the regular season, just check out our list of “Can’t-Miss Contests” below.

Those five games top what might end up one of the most exciting weeks of boys hoops this entire winter, and that’s without including Friday’s Detroit Catholic League Cardinal championship game as the top four placers from one of the state’s most competitive leagues will contend over two rounds this week.

“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. Detroit Cass Tech 74, Detroit Martin Luther King 70 (OT) The Technicians (21-0) followed up a 57-55 win over King (10-7) on Jan. 20 to clinch the Detroit Public School League Tournament title.

2. Grand Blanc 70, Muskegon 62 (OT) Grand Blanc (17-2) is No. 3 in Division 1 MPR and Muskegon (17-2) is No. 4, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them meet again with much more on the line next month.

3. Flint Beecher 48, Flint Hamady 43 The Bucs (15-3) clinched the Genesee Area Conference Red title outright, finishing a regular-season sweep of the rival Hawks (16-4).  

4. Escanaba 72, Painesdale Jeffers 68 (OT) After falling to Painesdale Jeffers in their Jan. 20 meeting 74-71, the Eskymos (10-6) handed the Jets (17-1) their only defeat.

5. Redford Union 57, Romulus 55 The Panthers (14-5) added this to an overtime win over Romulus (14-5) from Jan. 20 to clinch the Western Wayne Athletic Conference title. 


Watch List

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


Lansing Waverly (14-5) The Warriors may have just enjoyed their best week of what’s guaranteed to be their winningest season since 2013-14. They took a one-game lead in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue by avenging a Jan. 23 loss to Okemos with a 72-53 win Feb. 13, then outlasted Grand Ledge 68-64 in overtime and edged Benton Harbor 76-71 on Saturday. Of 14 victories, 11 have come against teams with winning records – with the losses to Okemos (14-3) and East Lansing (9-8) in league and Detroit Renaissance (12-7), River Rouge (14-5) and Davison (14-6) nonconference.

Oak Park (10-5) In an Oakland Activities Association Red where all five teams have double-digit wins led North Farmington (17-1) and Ferndale (10-6) at the top, Oak Park might not be getting the attention it would otherwise. But the Knights are No. 9 in statewide Division 1 MPR, with four of those losses coming to North Farmington (twice), Ferndale or Clarkston – and with the Clarkston and Ferndale rematches next week. Oak Park would be the second seed in a similarly-strong District if brackets were drawn today.


Croswell-Lexington (15-3) The Pioneers took a major step toward retaining a share of the Blue Water Area Conference title with a 54-45 win Thursday over Richmond (15-2) after falling to the Blue Devils on Jan. 19. Croswell-Lexington and Richmond both have one league loss (to each other), but the Pioneers have one more win and their final three games against the bottom three teams in the BWAC standings. Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (13-3) tonight should provide another solid test.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central (14-5) The reigning Division 2 runner-up Cougars have bounced back from an 0-3 start with 14 wins over their last 16 games as they’ve moved to the top of the O-K Gold. They can clinch the championship outright Tuesday against second-place Grand Rapids South Christian (16-3), which GRCC defeated 71-67 on Jan. 24. Nine of those 14 wins have come against teams with records .500 or better, paying off in the Cougars also topping their District in MPR.


Brown City (18-1) The Green Devils can clinch the Greater Thumb Conference East title outright Tuesday against second-place Sandusky (12-6), which they defeated 42-37 in their first matchup Jan. 25. Brown City’s only loss came to Laker, 64-61 in its second game this season, and the Green Devils are coming off finishing a regular-season sweep of Ubly after placing second to the Bearcats in the league standings a year ago.  

Cass City (16-1) As noted here, more than one-third of Cass City’s wins have come with go-ahead points during the final seconds – and the halfcourt shot to down Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port 43-42 on Jan. 27 has Cass City sitting a game ahead of Laker in the GTC West standings with the rematch set for Friday. Cass City’s only loss was 50-41 to Bad Axe on Jan. 6, avenged with a 46-45 win Feb. 1. The Red Hawks presently also sit atop a District bracket that includes both Bad Axe and Laker.


Eau Claire (15-4) The Fighting Beavers have clinched a share of the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference championship after finishing second last season and winning only five games total during the abbreviated 2020-21. They are 11-1 since the start of the calendar year, losing only to Benton Harbor Countryside Academy and avenging that loss Friday to gain the league title share. An 84-68 win over Galesburg-Augusta (15-4) jumps out – and they play again Wednesday – but so too does Eau Claire’s nine games scoring at least 80 points.

Kingston (15-3) After finishing 10-11 and fifth in the North Central Thumb Conference Stars a year ago, Kingston has changed lanes and clinched the championship outright with a 47-39 win over Peck on Friday. A 61-60 double-overtime victory over second-place Dryden three days earlier was more key, and the Cardinals sit No. 10 in statewide Division 4 MPR with all three losses to Division 2 or 3 teams, including Brown City (see above).

Can’t-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Jackson (15-4) at Chelsea (16-2) – This will decide if Chelsea wins the Southeastern Conference White title outright or shares with the Vikings, who won the Jan. 31 matchup 76-69.  

Tuesday – Ovid-Elsie (15-2) at Chesaning (15-3) – They enter tied for first in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference and will both have one league game remaining. Ovid-Elsie won the Jan. 16 meeting 55-51 in overtime.

Tuesday – Boyne City (17-2) at Traverse City St. Francis (15-3) – The Ramblers have a one-game lead on St. Francis in the Lake Michigan Conference with two games to play, and after winning their first meeting 50-44 on Jan. 24.

Friday – Hudsonville (14-5) at East Kentwood (14-5) – These two have risen to the top of a tightly-packed O-K Red race and could decide the championship outright if they both also win Tuesday. Hudsonville won 54-45 when they met Jan. 27.

Friday – Ferndale (10-6) at North Farmington (17-1) – North Farmington is No. 1 in Division 1 MPR, Ferndale is No. 1 in Division 2, and the Raiders lead the Eagles by a game in the OAA Red. North Farmington won 50-48 on Jan. 31.




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PHOTO North Branch earned its best win this season Tuesday, 65-63 over Millington. (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.