Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 5
January 14, 2014
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The powerhouse programs often seem to be the same from boys basketball season to season.
But one of the most entertaining parts of high school hoops is how a team can change its level of success substantially from year to year as players move up to varsity and graduate each spring.
The below list of last week's 10 impressive squads includes a number that are off to strong beginnings to 2013-14 after lesser performances a season ago. (Records are based on results reported to the MHSAA Score Center.)
1. Holland (6-0, Class A) – The Dutch finished a game under .500 last season, but have opened by beating some of the best from the state’s west side plus solid Mount Pleasant.
2, Detroit Henry Ford (6-1, Class B) – The Trojans already are halfway to equaling last season’s win total and have posted some of their most impressive over Ann Arbor Huron and Rockford.
3. Negaunee (7-1, Class C) – The Miners are the only team undefeated in the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference after handing rival Ishpeming its first loss of the season, 57-55, last week.
4. Ann Arbor Huron (5-1, Class A) – The River Rats have jumped out to a nice lead in the Southeastern Conference Red and earned a solid win over Detroit East English during holiday break.
5. Boyne City (6-0, Class C) – Call it clutch; the Lake Michigan Conference-leading Ramblers already have three league wins by five or fewer points.
6. Rochester Adams (6-1, Class A) – The Highlanders have lost a combined two games over the last two seasons, with this winter’s lone defeat a mere three-pointer during the opening week.
7. Fennville (6-1, Class C) – The Blackhawks are off to their best start of the young decade, with the lone loss a four-pointer to traditional Class D power Wyoming Tri-unity Christian.
8. Flint Carman-Ainsworth (6-1, Class A) – The Cavaliers have won their first four Saginaw Valley Association South games by an average of 23 points per.
9. Mount Pleasant (5-1, Class A) – Four of those five wins have put the Oilers on top of the always-competitive Saginaw Valley Association North.
10. Bloomfield Hills (5-1, Class A) – The Black Hawks' first season after emerging from the merge of Lahser and Andover is off to a great start, with the only loss a one-pointer to Rochester and last week’s 13-point win over Southfield-Lathrup most impressive.
PHOTO: Ann Arbor Huron got past East Lansing during the Holiday Hoops Invitational at Michigan State's Breslin Center and is off to a 5-1 start. (Click to see more at 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.