Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 8

February 3, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

A number of MHSAA boys basketball teams finished the first half of their league schedules last week.

A number of games set up which teams will chase over this final month of the regular season, as well as which will be chased with little to no room for error.

See some of those teams below that stuck out for how they stayed in or joined league races over the final week in January.


Battle Creek Central (7-6) – Opponents can’t sleep on the Bearcats despite their middling record; Battle Creek Central started 0-5 but has won five straight including two by five or fewer points last week. Central trails Kalamazoo Central by a win in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East and faces the Maroon Giants on Friday.

Dearborn Fordson (9-3) – A brief downturn of three losses in four games in mid-January is over thanks to wins over rivals Robichaud and Dearborn last weekend. The Tractors’ next games are against the teams ahead of them in the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Blue standings – co-leaders Belleville and Romulus.

Novi (10-2) – Barring something unexpected, only Salem can still challenge Novi in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association Central. The Wildcats finished fifth in the league last season; a 77-65 win over Salem on Jan. 20 separates the two at this point.

Saginaw Arthur Hill (11-2) – Playing potentially its last season (the school reportedly may merge with Saginaw High), the Lumberjacks are taking advantage and haven’t lost in 2015. They own a one-game lead in the Saginaw Valley Association North thanks to an 88-66 win last week over second-place Saginaw.


Alma (9-2) – The Panthers took a tough Tri-Valley Conference crossover loss to West leader Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary on Friday, but opened last week by beating East co-leader Millington by 15 and then extended their Central advantage to two games with a win Saturday over Hemlock.

Dowagiac (10-1) – The Chieftains retained their grip on a share of first place in the Wolverine Conference West with a 68-66 win over third-place Edwardsburg last week. Dowagiac has won seven straight and gets its rematch Friday with Paw Paw, the other first-place team and the only one to beat Dowagiac this winter.

Haslett (10-1) – The Vikings have quietly set the pace in the Capital Area Activities Conference Red behind standout junior point guard Brandon Allen, and he’s gotten plenty of help during a six-game winning streak that last week included an overtime win over Class A Holt. The only loss was to second-place DeWitt, up again Feb. 13.

Marysville (9-2) – Marysville missed a league title by a win last season but has two more than the field in the Macomb Area Conference Silver after rolling through the first half of the league schedule undefeated. The Vikings needed three overtimes to beat Clawson 51-46 last week.


Carson City-Crystal (8-2) – The Eagles extended their recent winning streak to five with a 62-55 win over Vestaburg on Friday that pushed both teams and Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart into a tie for first place in the Mid-State Activities Conference. The second half of the league schedule starts this weekend.

Fennville (11-1) – A halfcourt shot make was the most memorable play of Friday’s 67-61 overtime win over Saugatuck that kept Fennville in first place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference North. The big shot sent it to the extra period as Fennville went on to win the “Never Forgotten” game played in honor of former standout Wes Leonard, who died on the court in 2011.

Manton (8-3) – The Rangers won 10 games last season and can equal that total in 2014-15 with two victories this week. Manton lost big to Highland Conference leader McBain three weeks ago, but maintains second place and gets McBain again Feb. 20.

Maple City Glen Lake (7-4) – The Lakers opened 3-4 but haven’t lost since to hold on to a share of first place in the Northwest Conference. Glen Lake owns that piece of the top spot after beating Frankfort – also tied for first – 45-44 on Jan. 13.


Alanson (8-2) – The Vikings have won six straight and sit alone in second in the Northern Lakes League after defeating third-place Mackinaw City 45-42 on Friday. Alanson fell to the Comets by 21 points on Jan. 6 and won nine games a year ago.

Felch North Dickinson (7-5) – The Nordics started 1-5 but are making their way back up the Skyline Central Conference East standings. North Dickinson sits in third but beat second-place Crystal Falls Forest Park 57-53 last week.

Lawrence (10-1) – The Tigers’ 8-player football MHSAA title kicked off a strong year for the school’s boys teams; the basketball team leads the Southwestern Athletic Conference South and has won seven straight.

Rudyard (10-3) – The Bulldogs are second to Class A Sault Ste. Marie in the Straits Area Conference and have won four straight including 75-65 over third-place St. Ignace on Friday. Rudyard gets its second shot at Sault Ste. Marie on Feb. 24 after losing by 10 in their first meeting Jan. 16.  

PHOTO: Alma defeated Millington in a crossover matchup of Tri-Valley Conference leaders last week. (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.