Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Report Week 2
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
December 19, 2022
Warren may be the place to be in Michigan high school boys basketball as we close in on the end of 2022.
Our two most notable wins from this past week were by Warren-based teams on the rise. Our most intriguing game this week is a rematch of last season’s Division 1 Final, won by another notable Warren hoops power.
Of course, great basketball is being played all over the state, and we name a number of others who have impressed so far or will have some great opportunities to do so over holiday break.
“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Warren Michigan Collegiate 45, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 44 While Michigan Collegiate (3-1) had its share of on-court success last season and lost to Warren De La Salle Collegiate by only seven earlier this month, this was a major statement by the Division 2 Cougars with St. Mary’s (1-1) expected to contend in Division 1.
2. Warren Lincoln 56, North Farmington 55 Lincoln similarly won 19 games last season and looks ready to join the Division 2 elite after handing North Farmington (4-1) its only loss.
3. Kalamazoo Central 63, Saginaw 61 Central’s annual Don Jackson Invitational concluded with the Maroon Giants (4-0) remaining undefeated with a close win over the Trojans (3-2).
4. Grand Rapids Christian 58, Grand Rapids Catholic Central 50 The Eagles (3-0) avenged a 25-point Regional Semifinal loss from last season, plus a three-point regular-season defeat to the Cougars (0-2).
5. Detroit Edison 56, River Rouge 54 After losses to two teams that are currently 4-1, the Pioneers (1-2) got on the board at the Northville Showcase, handing River Rouge (2-1) its lone defeat.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Ann Arbor Skyline (3-0) The Eagles face some significant competition to finish out 2022, but they look up to the challenge. They’re coming off a 17-6 finish last season and picked up an especially solid win Friday, 52-49 in overtime over Ann Arbor Pioneer after those two split last winter. West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Port Huron Northern to finish this month are opportunities to see where Skyline stands.
Port Huron Northern (3-0) The Huskies ended 15-6 last season after a 1-3 start, and they’ve begun this winter on the much different note starting with a 17-point win over Clinton Township Chippewa Valley at the MAC Champions Classic. After defeating rival Port Huron on Thursday, Northern capped the week Saturday with a 60-56 win over Croswell-Lexington – which entered this season a combined 61-4 over the last three.
Flint Hamady (2-0) The Hawks got things started last week with an 87-62 win over Genesee Christian – a Division 4 semifinalist last season. Hamady then defeated Flint Southwestern by 33 the next day, and could be primed to take another step after improving from 2-10 in 2020-21 to finishing 15-7 and reaching the Regional Finals in March.
Hart (4-0) The Pirates have improved from four to five to seven wins the last three seasons, respectively, and they’re well on their way to building on those totals again. The most impressive of this start was the most recent – 92-84 on Thursday over previously-undefeated Big Rapids, an 18-game winner last season.
Niles Brandywine (4-0) Last season’s 13-6 run ended with a District-opening loss to Buchanan, but Brandywine avenged it Friday with a 51-40 win over the Bucks. Brandywine was the champion in the final season of the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference Red and hopes to carry that success into the new Lakeland Athletic Conference, which includes BCS Red opponents Buchanan and Berrien Springs as well.
Vassar (3-0) A 2-4 run to end last season put the Vulcans at 9-13 overall, but they’ve turned that around to start this fall. One of those final defeats last season came to Harbor Beach, but Vassar opened this winter with a 59-57 win over the Pirates before defeating Marlette by five and then winning big last week against Mayville.
Indian River Inland Lakes (3-0) The Bulldogs have made a strong impression already this season after going 8-13 in 2021-22. Inland Lakes opened with a 64-62 win over Harbor Springs to avenge one loss from last winter, then avenged two more by downing Johannesburg-Lewiston by 41 last week. They’ll have another chance to avenge with a trip Wednesday to Rogers City.
Mackinaw City (3-0) The Comets made major noise last week when their 71-56 win over Ellsworth ended the Lancers’ 61-game Northern Lakes Conference winning streak. Mackinaw City was second last season in the NLC – and 13-8 overall – and also has avenged a last-year loss to Onaway early this winter.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Warren De La Salle Collegiate (4-0) at Grand Blanc (2-0) – This is a rematch of last season’s Division 1 championship game, won by De La Salle 67-58.
Dec. 28 – Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (4-0) vs. River Rouge (2-1) at North Farmington – This high-profile matchup helps start the North Farmington Holiday Extravaganza.
Dec. 28 – Bridgeport (4-0) vs. East Lansing (2-1) at St. Clair County Community College – This sets up as the most intriguing matchup of the SC4 Showcase.
Dec. 30 – Warren De La Salle Collegiate (4-0) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (0-2) at Ferndale – This Motor City Roundball Classic matchup pits the reigning Division 1 champion Pilots and Division 2 runner-up Cougars.
Dec. 30 – Detroit Cass Tech (2-0) vs. Grand Rapids Northview (3-0) at Ferndale – Another Motor City matchup pits teams that combined for 46 wins and two Regional titles last season.
MHSAA.com'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 www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO A Davison player looks for an open teammate while surrounded by Saginaw Arthur Hill defenders Dec. 13. The Cardinals won 66-51. (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.