Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 6
January 16, 2017
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
As conference races begin to heat up on both peninsulas, the best of the best are starting to show it against arguably their toughest opponents – those most familiar.
Our top game from last week in this week's Breslin Bound report – powered by MI Student Aid – features two such neighbors facing off again as they have for decades, while a number of rivals also saw each other for the first of two meetings this season.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Saginaw 62, Saginaw Arthur Hill 49 – This annually is one of the state’s best rivalries, and the Trojans have the edge in the Saginaw Valley League North with the rematch coming Feb. 3.
2. Detroit East English 73, Kalamazoo Central 63 – After being stunned by Detroit Osborn on Friday, East English came back to win the premier game of the Floyd Mayweather Classic at Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills on Saturday.
3. Wyoming Godwin Heights 114, Wyoming Kelloggsville 75 – The Ottawa-Kent Conference Silver includes three teams from Wyoming that are a combined 20-2, but Godwin Heights remains the leader at 8-0.
4. East Lansing 70, Holt 66 – The undefeated Trojans should be contenders in Class A, and now have survived a second challenge in the strong Capital Area Activities Conference Blue.
5. St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 56, St. Clair 38 – Lake Shore, sitting in first place in the Macomb Area Conference Silver, handed then-MAC Gold leader St. Clair its first loss.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Saginaw (7-1) – The Trojans opted up to play in Class A again despite an enrollment of just fewer than 600. And they’ll again be in the mix, judging from last week’s 62-49 win over Arthur Hill; the lone loss was to Chicago Orr, which also has wins over Detroit Martin Luther King and Pershing.
Wayne Memorial (7-1) – After finishing 8-14 only a season ago, Wayne has asserted itself atop the Kensington Lakes Activities Association South. Friday’s one-point win over Canton put the Zebras in first alone and the Chiefs in second.
Benton Harbor (9-0) – The Tigers are looking like a challenger in Class B again after a step back, relatively speaking, to 15-6 last season. Last week showed plenty – a 55-45 win over Class A Battle Creek Central and an overtime win over struggling but recently successful Stevensville Lakeshore.
Richmond (7-1) – Better known for football and wrestling, Richmond finished third in the Blue Water Area Conference last season but has an early leg up with a win over co-champion Imlay City and that other co-champ, Yale, coming up Tuesday.
Gobles (8-2) – The Tigers’ defeats have come to Class B one-loss teams Fennville and Wyoming Lee, and they are closing in on last season’s 12-win total. The rematch with Fennville comes Jan. 31 and could end up deciding the champion in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore.
Negaunee (7-0) – The Miners have won all of their games by at least 16 and six by at least 21 points to keep pace with also-undefeated Norway in the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference. Negaunee split the league title last year with Iron Mountain, winning its first 19 before losing its final two games.
Fowler (6-1) – The Eagles took a mid-December loss to Bath, but remain the mix in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference after last week’s 63-56 win over rival and 2016 Class D semifinalist Fulton.
Deckerville (6-2) – These Eagles are looking to challenge Dryden again after splitting the North Central Thumb League title last season, and will circle the March 2 rematch with the Class C Cardinals after falling to them Dec. 12.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Monday – Negaunee (7-0) at Marquette (7-1) – Two Upper Peninsula league leaders will face off in one of the north’s top nonleague matchups this season.
Tuesday – Detroit Martin Luther King (6-1) at Detroit East English (7-1) – First place in the Detroit Public School League East Division 1, and superiority in the league as a whole, could be at stake.
Tuesday – Buckley (5-0) at Frankfort (5-0) – The Northwest Conference co-leaders are also potentially two of the best in all of Class D.
Tuesday – Dundee (9-0) at Hillsdale (8-0) – These two lead the Lenawee County Athletic Association and also are rising up the ranks in Class B.
Tuesday – Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (7-1) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (6-2) – The Eaglets are in the Detroit Catholic League Central conversation again, and can take a commanding step against the reigning Class A champion.
PHOTO: Deckerville, attempting a shot, earned a win over Sandusky earlier this season and sit 6-2. (Click to see more from Varsity Monthly.)
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.