Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 1

December 16, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

This boys basketball season needed just a few hours of opening night to satisfy the anticipation that’s been building since last season’s MHSAA Finals finished a little more than eight months ago.

We’ll bank on that first week as an indication of what’s to come.

Below is our first “Breslin Bound” report of the boys season, powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at Those results have become much more vital this winter – for the first time, there will be limited seeding of the top two teams at the District level based on their Michigan Power Rating (MPR). Check out how every team in the state ranks, and send corrections or missing scores to [email protected].

Week in Review

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

1. River Rouge 63, Ypsilanti Lincoln 53 – This high-profile matchup started the week and season, as reigning Division 2 runner-up Rouge handed reigning Division 1 champion Lincoln an opening defeat at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center. 

2. Grand Blanc 80, Detroit Douglass 77 – This Horatio Williams Showcase headliner featured one of the state’s best sophomores and juniors and two teams that should be making pushes in March in Divisions 1 and 2, respectively.

3. Saginaw 88, Saginaw Arthur Hill 76 – After scoring 101 points in its opener, Saginaw put up another big number in its first matchup of the season with the rival Lumberjacks.

4. Ferndale 66, Flint Beecher 55 – The Eagles also posted an impressive win at the Horatio Williams event, getting past a Beecher team looking toward contending in Division 3 again after making the Quarterfinals last season.

5. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 48, Detroit U-D Jesuit 47 – Division 3 Arbor Prep started its season with a one-point win over the reigning Division 1 runner-up. 

Watch List

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


Ann Arbor Huron (2-0) Last season’s 13-8 record was a bit deceptive; two losses were one-pointers and its District defeat came in overtime. The River Rats are starting out on the positive end of those close games this winter, with their first win 53-50 over returning Division 3 semifinalist Detroit Edison.

Marquette (2-0) For the second straight season, Marquette opened with wins over Brighton and Petoskey – this time by eight and three points, respectively. Last season, that start turned into a 19-4 finish with league and District championships.


Detroit Communication Media Arts (2-0) CMA improved five wins from 2017-18 last winter to get to 11-10, and may be on its way toward taking another step. The Pharaohs opened with a 74-48 win over Pershing to avenge last season’s one-point loss to the Doughboys, then got past Farmington in overtime 70-68 after Farmington had opened with an impressive win over Wayne Memorial.

Imlay City (3-0) The Spartans are coming off two straight sub-.500 seasons but did improve two wins last winter to 10-12. The Harry Moore Tournament at Capac gave them an opportunity for three wins during the first week, and Imlay City capitalized by defeating Deckerville in the championship game.


Burton Bendle (2-0) The Tigers are halfway to equaling last season’s 4-17 success thanks to double-digit wins over Flint Southwestern and Flint New Standard Academy. The 84-74 win over Southwestern avenged last season’s one and 11-point losses to the Jaguars.

Farwell (2-0) The Eagles haven’t won more than five games in a season since 2013-14, and tied that high of five last winter. But they are 2-0 for the first time in at least a decade, opening with a 65-64 win over Remus Chippewa Hills after losing to the Warriors by 17 a year ago.


Mayville (2-0) The Wildcats over the last six seasons have gradually climbed, progressing to an 8-14 finish a year ago. Last week gave them their best start in at least a decade, as Mayville stacked double-digit wins over Akron-Fairgrove and Caseville.

Three Oaks River Valley (3-0) The Mustangs doubled their success last season from 2017-18, going from 6-15 to 13-9 and despite a 1-3 start. River Valley opened last week with double-digit wins over Decatur and White Pigeon and then avenged a pair of losses from last season to Marcellus Howardsville Christian.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Sanford Meridian (1-1) at Beaverton (2-0) – Three wins over Beaverton last season played significant parts in Meridian winning the Jack Pine Conference title and reaching the Division 3 Quarterfinals.

Tuesday – Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1-0) at Grand Rapids Christian (2-0) – GRCC won the regular-season and District matchups between these two last season, the latter on the way to a Division 2 Regional Final.

Thursday – Pittsford (1-1) at Bellevue (1-0) – These two both won divisions of the Southern Central Athletic Association last season; Bellevue won their regular-season meeting and the rematch in the Division 4 Regional Final.

Friday – Kalamazoo Central (1-0) at Benton Harbor (2-0) – These annual southwestern powers are meeting for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

Saturday – Detroit U-D Jesuit (1-1) at Detroit Edison (1-1) – As noted above, both ended last season at Breslin Center, Jesuit in the Division 1 Final and Edison in the Division 3 Semifinals.

Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” reports 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: Flint Carman-Ainsworth opened the season last week with an 81-45 win over Davison. (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.