Class B: One More for Lakeshore

March 23, 2012

EAST LANSING – Stevensville Lakeshore coach Sean Schroeder had talked with his team this season about taking another step as a program.

He echoed that with a little more fire at halftime of Friday’s Class B Semifinal at the Breslin Center.

The Lancers led by three with just 16 minutes separating them from the first championship game berth in school history. But Muskegon Heights sophomore Mike Davis had scored 15 points and looked more than capable of carrying his team back to a second-straight Final.

“(No.) 24 had to stop scoring. He was keeping them in the game,” Lakeshore senior guard Loren Johnson said. “The effort was lacking. We really pride ourselves in defense, and we were really showing a lack of effort on the court.”

Now the Lancers have another big thing in which to take pride as well – and will be back at Breslin one more time this weekend.

Lakeshore got tighter on defense and bigger on offense and pulled away from Muskegon Heights for a 59-46 win. The No. 7 Lancers (24-2) will play No. 1 Lansing Sexton in the Final at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Lakeshore last played in a Semifinal in 2007, when it lost 49-42 to Country Day. Its other Semifinals were in 1995 and 1981.

“We really never could get over this hump. As a program and as a school, it’s something we really talked about, how nice it would be to at least get to the final game,” Schroeder said. “I don’t think our kids came here (in 2007) expecting to win, just ‘Oh my gosh, we made it here. It’s awesome.’ And that’s common for high school kids. But one of the things we talked about after Tuesday night was let’s get there and win.”

And that meant stopping Davis.

The 6-foot-4 sophomore forward entered the week averaging 10.5 points per game, but surpassed that 50 seconds into the second quarter. And Heights (20-7) needed that effort – it found out Wednesday that leading scorer Juwon Martin (15.8 ppg) would miss the Semifinal after suffering an injury Tuesday.

“It was a devastating blow, but we’re a no-excuse team. That’s been our motto all year,” Muskegon Heights coach Keith Guy said. “We just kept fighting at it.”

On the other bench, Schroeder more or less subbed in if a defender let Davis take a shot. He eventually settled on senior forward Jordan Avery as his stopper, and it paid off – Davis got far fewer looks, and scored only six points during the second half.

The Lancers, meanwhile, went ahead 37-35 with 5:08 to go in the third quarter and then launched a 16-3 run that Heights couldn’t match.

“We had to find different ways to try to get me open. In the first half I was just playing, trying to get our offense going. In the second half … they pretty much almost stopped me,” Davis said.

“(But) I learned that anything I put my mind to I can do it, especially on the basketball court where I think I’m one of the best people on the court at any time.”

Davis did finish with 21 points total. Senior Ryan Avery led Lakeshore with 20, while Johnson had 13 and senior center Alex Klunder had 10.

Click for box score or to watch the game and press conferences at

PHOTO: Lakeshore junior Keith Brushwyler battles for the ball during Friday's Semifinal. (Photo courtesy of Terry McNamara Photography.) 

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.