Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 7

January 23, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

This week is expected to see the first MHSAA record fall during a history-making season in Michigan boys basketball.

Powers North Central can both tie and then surpass the 65-game winning streak built by Chassell’s teams from 1956-58. Barring the unexpected, the two-time reigning Class D champion would win its 66th straight on Friday – and then start work on pushing the newly-set record even farther out of reach.

Friday's game will be broadcast live on, and we'll report more on the streak's significance next week. And of course, it's only one of a number of games and teams highlighted in this week’s Breslin Bound report powered by MI Student Aid.

Week in Review

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

1. Detroit East English 71, Detroit Martin Luther King 57 – While its loss to Detroit Osborn on Jan. 13 remains a bit of a shocker, East English has bounced all the way back and with this win improved to 9-1 and moved into a first-place tie with King atop the Detroit Public School League East Division 1.

2. Buckley 50, Frankfort 38 – The Bears earned the upper hand both in the Northwest Conference and among the north’s Class D elite by remaining undefeated in handing Frankfort its first loss this season.

3. Hillsdale 74, Dundee 54 – This also was a meeting of undefeated teams, with Hillsdale prevailing to keep the top spot alone in the Lenawee County Athletic Association while making a nice statement in Class B as well.

4. Mount Pleasant 68, Saginaw 60 – The Oilers took a couple of tough losses early in the Saginaw Valley League North season, but they’re back in second place with this first win over league leader Saginaw since 2010.

5. Benton Harbor 62, Muskegon Heights Academy 60 – Coming off an overtime win over Stevensville Lakeshore, Benton Harbor passed another tough test edging a Heights team that is 8-4.

Watch List

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


Marquette (9-1) – Since falling to Petoskey on opening night, Marquette is unbeaten. The Redmen handed Negaunee its first loss, 57-53, to start last week, and have a two-win lead on the rest of the Great Northern U.P. Conference after finishing second and only 11-9 overall last winter.

Romulus (7-2) – Somewhat quietly, Romulus has re-established itself in the Class A hunt. The Eagles always load their schedule with tough opponents, and although losses came to Clarkston and Detroit U-D Jesuit (combined 18-2), Romulus put up wins last week against Saginaw Arthur Hill, Dearborn Fordson and rival Belleville.


Ludington (8-0) – Counting the end of last season, Ludington has won 15 of its last 16 games, including handing Muskegon Heights Academy (mentioned above) one of its two losses this winter. That win has the Orioles sitting in first place alone in the rebuilt Lakes 8 Athletic Conference.

New Haven (9-1) – Coming off last season’s Quarterfinal march, New Haven is the team to chase in the Macomb Area Conference Blue with its last eight wins all by at least 22 points. That lone loss came by six to Macomb Dakota, a likely contender again after making the Class A Semifinals a year ago.


Norway (10-0) – With the school’s girls team also 10-0, it’s a great time to play basketball at Norway. The boys’ success has included handing Iron Mountain its only loss (48-44) on Dec. 16 and winning the rest of its games this winter by double digits – including 56-44 last week over reigning Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference co-champ Negaunee.

Kalamazoo Hackett (8-0) – A 53-50 win over rival Kalamazoo Christian on Friday was the latest highlight to a perfect start that has Hackett atop the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley standings. Going back to last season’s Quarterfinal run, Hackett has won 32 of its last 33 games.


Carney-Nadeau (6-3) – Life could be easier than playing in the same league as undefeated Powers North Central and one-loss Bark River-Harris, but the Wolves deserve some credit as well for upping the reputation of the Skyline Central Conference West after last week handing Munising its only loss, 59-46. Carney-Nadeau’s losses were to those league frontrunners and Friday at the Milwaukee Academy of Science.

Jackson Christian (6-3) – After opening 2-3 with those losses all to Class C teams with winning records, Jackson Christian has won four straight to take the lead in the Southern Central Athletic Association East. All of the wins have been by 10 or more points, and two of those three losses were by a combined five points.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Wayne Memorial (7-2) at Clarkston (10-0) – Much-improved Wayne can tie last season’s win total with an upset of the Class A-contending Wolves.

Tuesday – Sand Creek (9-0) at Ottawa Lake Whiteford (8-1) – This sounds like a great football matchup, but the boys basketball teams too are tied for first in the Tri-County Conference; Whiteford did beat Sand Creek in football to win the league title in that sport.

Tuesday – St. Johns (8-2) at East Lansing (10-0) – Both are leaders of Capital Area Activities Conference divisions, St. Johns in the Red and East Lansing in the Blue, but this could be a mighty upset for a Redwings team that has won two more games already than all of last season.

Wednesday – Michigan Center (8-0) at Napoleon (8-1) – These two are both undefeated in the Cascades Conference and also part of the same Class C District, making this the first of three possible matchups.

Friday – Bark River-Harris (8-1) at Powers North Central (9-0) – If the Jets beat Rock Mid-Peninsula on Tuesday, this matchup of the leaders in the Skyline Central Conference West could see North Central set the MHSAA boys hoops record with a 66th consecutive victory. 

PHOTO: Mount Pleasant downed Saginaw last week for the first time since 2010. (Click for more from

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.