Muxlow Family Has New All-Time Leading Scorer; Brown City May Soon As Well

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

March 8, 2023

When Gaden Muxlow talked to his sister Kendal after passing her career point total, he received a congratulatory response – with a caveat.

Bay & Thumb“She gave me the speech about how she had to miss so many games because of her ACL injuries,” Gaden said with a laugh.

Passing a family member in the Muxlow house – regardless of how many games that family member had to miss – is quite an accomplishment, as the family is all over the Brown City basketball record books. Kendal is the all-time leading scorer in the girls program, with 1,419 points. Mom, Shari, isn’t far behind at 1,363, and dad, Doug, had 1,327.

Gaden sits at 1,481, atop his family ranks and 22 behind the school’s all-time leading scorer Justin McPhail.

With the postseason starting tonight for Brown City, it’s not a guarantee Muxlow will catch McPhail – but it’s a pretty comfortable expectation.

He’s scored at least 22 points in 18 of the Green Devils’ 22 games this season, averaging 27.6 points per game on his way to a school-record 607. The person he had to pass to break that record? Dad.

“Ever since I was a kid, basketball has always been a big focus in our family,” Gaden Muxlow said. “I remember watching my sister in AAU tournaments as a kid, it’s always on the TV. Since I was a kid, I always had goals to beat my siblings. It always gave me a little bit of fire, and I started getting a little more into the season, and as I got closer, we started talking about it a little more in my family. (Passing Kendal) actually felt really good, because my sister was pretty talented, and I grew up watching her play.”

It’s not just family records that Muxlow has been breaking, as he and his teammates enjoyed a 21-1 regular season, which included a Greater Thumb Conference East title.

Muxlow scored a school-record 45 points in a game against Ubly. He has hit 187 of his 222 free throws, smashing the previous mark of 127. He’s also made 62 3-pointers on the season, 13 behind the school record, but not out of reach if the Green Devils make a run.

The Muxlows celebrate Gaden’s signing with Rochester College. “He’s a great player,” Brown City coach Bob Hatten said. “He elevates the players around him. He does a good job of staying unselfish, but he also knows in key moments when to take over.”

Muxlow has signed to play at Rochester University, making him the fourth player in his family who will play college basketball.

Kendal is currently at Purdue University-Fort Wayne, Shari played at Dayton and Doug played at Cornerstone.

Gaden’s older brother, Caleb, played football at Concordia.

“I guess it wasn’t as much pressure as it was a lot of people were telling me they were expecting big things from me, and they were excited to watch me play,” Gaden said. “I guess it was a little bit of pressure, and a bit of excitement, as well. I wanted to do as well as I could to live up to the hype or the name, or whatever.”

He’s certainly done that. And when opposing teams were throwing every exotic defense they could think of at him this season, it wasn’t because of his name. It was because of his track record.

“Early in the season, we saw everything,” Hatten said. “Box and one, triangle and two where both guys were on Gaden. We saw teams full court deny him with two guys. We trailed in the second half in seven of our first nine games, and we had to find a way to win some close ones. It was probably midseason when a lot of our guys started falling more in line with their roles and started being more comfortable.”

Thanks to those players fulfilling their roles, and playing well around Muxlow, the Green Devils have thrived, and teams can be punished for focusing too much attention on him.

Fellow senior captains Clint Ford and Callen Hagey have excelled in leadership roles, while also providing some scoring cover for Muxlow. Senior Brandon Kohler has been a threat from the outside, keeping teams honest.

As a team, the Green Devils are holding the opposition to just 39.3 points per game. They’re also executing in areas that win big games, shooting 72.5 percent from the free throw line and turning the ball over fewer than 10 times per game.

The cohesiveness and success make sense when you realize most of these players have been playing with one another since elementary school.

“I think that’s probably the biggest piece to our success; we never have to worry about any drama,” Muxlow said. “Everybody gets along, everybody’s goal is the same thing – just to win. Everybody is buying into their roles. I don’t really feel like I’m doing this in a ball hog way, it’s just a piece to the puzzle that we’ve built along the way. Everybody bought into their role, and everybody knows what they’re doing. I know my role is to put the ball in the bucket, and I do whatever I can to help us win.

“It feels more special that it’s helping and leading to wins.”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Brown City’s Gaden Muxlow, right, brings the ball upcourt during a win over Burton Atherton this season. (Middle) The Muxlows celebrate Gaden’s signing with Rochester University. (Photos courtesy of the Muxlow family.)

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.