Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 9

February 10, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The first week of February saw the final boys basketball showcase events of 2014-15 and the first league tournament of this winter, with the Detroit Public School League beginning its countdown to Calihan Hall.

The following teams were among those that impressed as the final month of the MHSAA regular season got underway.


Macomb Dakota (11-2) – The Cougars sit atop the Macomb Area Conference Red standings and are coming off their best week. Dakota beat second-place Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 75-67 on Thursday and then edged Ypsilanti Community 69-65 on Saturday at the Lumberjack Classic at Delta College.

Salem (11-3) – The Rocks have finished third three straight seasons since their last league title in 2011-12, but they’re tied with Novi for first this winter in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association Central. Next up? Novi tonight, with sixth place South Lyon to finish out the league schedule Friday.

Sterling Heights Stevenson (10-3) – The Titans are 7-0 in the MAC White, two games ahead of the field with a loss to Dakota its only defeat of 2015. Stevenson finished third in its division last season and second in 2012-13.

West Bloomfield (12-1) – The switch from Blue to the White division of the Oakland Activities Association has been a nice change; West Bloomfield was seventh in the Blue last season but sits atop the White standings with three of four league wins by 14 or more points.


Detroit Communication Media Arts (13-3) – Despite its first loss since Dec. 18, to Detroit Osborn, CMA finished its run to a Detroit PSL division crown and then doubled up Class A Detroit Southeastern 40-20 in the first round of the league tournament.

Detroit Osborn (11-5) – The Knights claimed their second straight Detroit PSL division title and continued a nine-game winning streak by beating CMA in overtime and then Detroit Cody in the first round of the league tournament.

Edwardsburg (10-3) – The Eddies’ aspirations of repeating as Wolverine Conference West champs took a blow with a two-point loss to first-place Dowagiac on Jan. 26. But they’ll travel to Dowagiac on Friday with a chance to create a three-way tie at the top.

Imlay City (12-2) – The Spartans pulled within half a win of the Blue Water Area Conference lead by handing Yale its first defeat this season, 49-42, on Feb. 3. Imlay City's lone league loss came by a point Jan. 20 to Richmond, the league leader and opponent Wednesday.


Burton Atherton (10-5) – The Wolverines posted a 3-0 week, avenging a previous loss to Flint Hamady with a 65-60 win Friday and then beating Bridgeport in the Lumberjack Classic. Atherton is third in the Genesee Area Conference Blue.

Cassopolis (9-6) – The overall record isn’t stunning thanks in part to a tough schedule featuring a number of larger schools, but that experience gained is paying off in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph East. The Rangers sit in first place and beat a solid BCS West team in Buchanan 61-52 on Thursday.

Muskegon Heights (8-4) – The Tigers again are playing a variety of schools of all sizes and are 5-1 after a 3-3 start. Wins against Baldwin and Muskegon Catholic Central are impressive, but so are losses to Rockford, Lansing Sexton, Bridgman and Benton Harbor.

Shelby (14-0) – These Tigers can clinch their second straight West Michigan Conference championship tonight against second-place North Muskegon, which they beat 48-45 on Jan. 27. North Muskegon and Whitehall are the only opponents to come within single digits of Shelby this season.


Cedarville (9-0) – With much the same cast as last season’s MHSAA semifinalist – and the key players from the fall’s 8-player football runner-up – Cedarville sits atop the Eastern Upper Peninsula Athletic Conference  and has won at least 41 straight league games dating to the 2009-10 season (which is as far back as MHSAA regular-season archives go).

Frankfort (12-1) – The Panthers boys are matching the powerhouse girls team this winter, sitting tied for first in the Northwest Conference with Maple City Glen Lake. Frankfort plays Glen Lake again Friday after falling to Lakers 45-44 on Jan. 13.

Holland Calvary (13-1) – The Crusaders have clinched a share of their fourth straight league title and can make it an outright Alliance League North championship by beating second-place Kent City Algoma Christian on Friday for the second time in two weeks.

Powers North Central (12-0) – The Jets are preparing to land their third straight league title with a three-win lead atop the Skyline Central Conference West. An MHSAA quarterfinalist last season, North Central hasn’t lost a regular-season game since 2012-13 and got a big win, 46-41, over second-place Crystal Falls Forest Park on Friday.   

PHOTO: Macomb Dakota edged Ypsilanti Community 69-65 on Saturday at Delta College. (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.