Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 11
February 20, 2017
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
This boys basketball season still has some surprises in store.
The latest proof? Check out last week’s results from the Detroit area, especially the top two listed below to kick off this week’s Breslin Bound boys report powered by MI Student Aid.
We're two weeks from the start of District tournaments, so stay tuned as a number of teams attempt to clinch league titles this week and give us our last glimpses of what we might be able to expect once the playoffs begin.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Detroit Cass Tech 59, Detroit Martin Luther King 47 – The Technicians are 16-3, so this can’t be considered a complete shocker, but beating perennial power King gave Cass Tech its first Detroit PSL tournament championship reportedly in at least 20 years.
2. Southfield Arts & Technology 64, Clarkston 60 – The first-year Warriors got off to a rough start but are 7-3 over their last 10 games and earned a season highlight handing Clarkston its only loss.
3. Belleville 69, Romulus 66 – Belleville avenged its one-point loss to Romulus on Jan. 20 to earn a shared Western Wayne Athletic Conference Blue title with the Eagles.
4. Southfield Christian 73, Cornerstone Health & Technology 55 – Southfield Christian has rounded in Class D championship shape, showing it again against a potential Class C contender in Cornerstone.
5. East Lansing 66, Holt 61 – The Trojans remain one of only three undefeated teams in Class A despite losing a key scorer to injury and beating the Rams twice by only a combined nine points on the way to clinching a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Parma Western (14-3) – The Panthers have improved from 8-13 two seasons ago and 12-9 last winter to lead the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference with two league games to play. What’s more, Parma Western also is a one-point loss and another defeat in overtime from 16-1.
Portage Central (14-2) – After improving by 10 wins from 2014-15 to last winter, Portage Central can close out an outright championship in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West after sharing it with two others last season. The Mustangs earned a share this time by beating Portage Northern on Friday.
Hudsonville Unity Christian (14-3) – A 2-3 start was tough, but the Crusaders are unbeaten since the calendar turned to 2017. They clinched the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green title after finishing second and 16-9 overall a year ago.
Wyoming Godwin Heights (17-0) – Few teams in any sport have been as consistent as Godwin Heights this decade. The Wolverines are closing in on a sixth straight season of at least 20 wins and definitely look good to make a deep tournament run after reaching the Regional Semifinals last winter. They can clinch the O-K Silver title Tuesday against Wyoming Lee.
Morley Stanwood (14-2) – A 44-43 win over Kent City avenged an earlier loss and gave the Mohawks a share of the Central State Activities Association Silver title. Morley Stanwood finished second in the league to Kent City last season, but only 9-11 overall.
Riverview Gabriel Richard (15-1) – A two-point loss to Marine City Cardinal Mooney two weeks ago has been the only slip-up as Gabriel Richard won its division of the Detroit Catholic League and its first-round game in the C-D Tournament. The league title was the Pioneers’ fifth straight; next, they’ll try to improve on last season’s Regional Final appearance.
Owendale-Gagetown (14-2) – A 49-45 win over Burton Faith on Thursday gave Owendale-Gagetown a share of the Inner State Athletic Conference title. The Bulldogs started this season 1-2 but have rebounded nicely after making the move from the Michigan Summit League.
Sterling Heights Parkway Christian (11-4) – The Eagles have climbed from second last season to first in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Red with three league games left. They bounced back from back-to-back losses to beat second-place Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest 74-72 on Friday.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Ottawa Lake Whiteford (15-2) at Sand Creek (15-0) – Sand Creek’s 17-point win last month was Whiteford’s only Tri-Country Conference loss; a win this time would clinch Sand Creek the league title.
Tuesday – Walled Lake Northern (13-4) at Walled Lake Western (13-4) – These neighbors split during the regular season as Western won the Kensington Lakes Activities Association North title; they meet this time in the Lakes playoffs.
Tuesday – Powers North Central (16-0) at Munising (15-2) – The Jets have pushed their MHSAA record and the longest active winning streak in the nation to 71 straight, but Munising could provide one of the toughest challenges so far.
Tuesday – Mount Pleasant (9-6) at Saginaw (14-3) – It got some headlines when the Oilers handed Saginaw its lone Saginaw Valley League North loss Jan. 20; the Trojans no doubt have circled this rematch.
Friday – Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (14-3) at Oxford (14-2) – Depending on how the rest of this week unfolds, Stoney Creek could clinch the Oakland Activities Association Blue title, or Oxford could move into a first-place tie.
PHOTO: Wyoming Godwin Heights, here against Belding, is three wins from a perfect regular-season finish and remains one of two undefeated teams in Class B. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.
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.