Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 1

December 12, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The storm that rolled through the state Saturday and Sunday seemed to say welcome to winter. But a snow day can’t get in the way of introducing our revamped “Breslin Bound” report, powered by MI Student Aid.

Over the last few seasons, we’ve weekly posted looks at teams to watch in each class with an eye on the end-of-season MHSAA Tournament. We’re changing things up and expanding a little too to make sure you know about all of the most significant scores from the week that was, plus what games coming up are most likely to have our attention.

Results and schedules are based on what’s published for each school at To offer corrections or missing scores, please contact me at [email protected].  

Week in Review

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

1. Benton Harbor 57, Dowagiac 36 – Benton Harbor finished last season 15-6 but with three losses over its final four games; with this win, the Tigers avenged that final defeat, a 68-60 loss to Dowagiac.

2. Detroit East English 84, Flint Beecher 74 – Coming off a 17-5 record and league title last winter, East English picked right back up with a solid win over the reigning Class C champion.

3. Belleville 54, Canton 31 – The Tigers are off to a 2-0 start after winning 19 a year ago, and dropped Canton to 0-2 after the Chiefs were undefeated last regular season.

4. North Muskegon 44, Muskegon Oakridge 29 – The Norsemen finished fourth in the West Michigan Conference last season due in part to 14 and 16-point losses to Oakridge, which ended 16-6 overall.

5. Romulus 70, Chicago Bogan (Ill.) 67 – For a Romulus team coming off a 12-8 finish, beating a frequent Illinois contender was a great way to start climbing back to elite.

Watch List

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


Ann Arbor Pioneer (2-0) – The Pioneers are looking to build on last season’s District title, and avenged one of their five losses from last winter by downing Southfield Christian 66-62 in their opener.

Coldwater (2-0) – Coming off 11-10 a year ago, the Cardinals might be in line for a jump after opening with two close wins, including 56-54 over reigning Interstate 8 Athletic Conference champion Marshall.


Coopersville (2-0) – Lost among some of the other Grand Rapids-area powers, Coopersville has won at least 15 games the last two seasons, and opened with another strong step downing Kent City 54-47 and East Grand Rapids 65-51; Kent City won its league last season.

River Rouge (2-0) – A Class B quarterfinalist last season, Rouge opened with a couple of nice wins over West Bloomfield (57-52) and Detroit Renaissance (45-36), which went a combined 30-14 last winter.  


Manton (2-0) – The Rangers are coming off a 17-5 season that started with losses to Class A Traverse City West and Petoskey; Manton opened this season beating West 76-72 and Petoskey 52-48, so it should be lined up well to chase McBain (below) again in the Highland Conference.

McBain (2-0) – A Class C semifinalist last season that opened with 26 straight wins (including the only two losses Manton received in league play), the Ramblers surged out of the gate again beating Benzie Central 58-35 and Traverse City St. Francis – 16-8 last winter – 73-39.


Martin (2-0) – The reigning Southwestern Athletic Conference Central champion seems primed for a repeat run after opening with a 66-63 win over Saugatuck, last year’s SAC Lakeshore runner-up (and 16-5 overall).

Powers North Central (2-0) – Let’s get the start to “Jets Watch” out of the way, right away; North Central’s wins last week over Stephenson (87-19) and Rapid River (92-39) pushed their winning streak to 57 straight, going back to Dec. 8, 2014, and they sit eight short of tying Chassell’s record from 1956-58.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Thursday: Powers North Central (2-0) at Carney-Nadeau (2-0) – The Wolves get next shot at breaking North Central’s winning streak; they finished 14-8 last season with two defeats to the Jets.

Thursday: Frankenmuth (0-0) at Millington (1-0) – The football rivalry carries over to basketball, with the Cardinals (14-10 last season) looking to get an early edge on the reigning Tri-Valley Conference East co-champion.

Friday: Hudsonville Unity Christian (2-0) at Hudsonville (0-2) – Both made Quarterfinals last season, Unity in Class B and Hudsonville in Class A, with the Eagles claiming their early-season matchup by nine points.

Friday: East Lansing (2-0) at Lansing Everett (1-0) – East Lansing won the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue last season, but Everett reached the Class A Semifinals by handing the Trojans their first and only loss in a Regional Final.

Friday: Wyoming Godwin Heights (1-0) at Lowell (0-0) – These were two of the best from the Grand Rapids area last season as both won District titles, Lowell in Class A and Godwin Heights in Class B.

Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau 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, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid. 

PHOTO: Flint Beecher (in red) downed Corunna 60-19 in posting a 2-1 record during the first week of this season. (Click for more from Varsity Monthly.)

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.