High 5s - 2/21/12

February 21, 2012

Every Tuesday, Second Half honors 2-4 athletes and a team for its accomplishments during the current season.

Have a suggestion for a future High 5? Please offer suggestions by e-mail to [email protected] Candidates often will have accomplished great things on the field of play -- but also will be recognized for other less obvious contributions to their teams, schools or the mission of high school athletics as a whole.

Dillon Mayer
Sault Ste. Marie senior
Swimming and Diving

Mayer won his second straight Upper Peninsula Finals diving championship Saturday in his home pool with a score of 226.55. He finished no worse than fourth at the Finals during his high school career, and set a school record this season with a six-dive score of 236.00. He also runs track and has a black belt in Kuk sool wan, a form of Korean martial arts.

"I have strived for the past four years to break the team diving record. This year I was finally able to break the team record, and then continued to break it through the season for a total of five times before the end of the season. Being the U.P. diving champion for the second year in a row was pretty awesome too!"

Up next: Mayer will attend either Michigan State University or Lake Superior State University, and hopes to dive if he attends MSU. He plans to major in fire science and paramedic studies. "I would like to work as a flight paramedic for a level one trauma center."

I learned the most about diving from: MSU diving coach Eric Best and Sault Ste. Marie coaches Ray Groeke and Kelli Vander Baan.

I look up to: "... the university divers I learned from at the MSU diving camp each year. They are amazing divers with a lot of knowledge to share."

I like most about diving: "From a competitive standpoint, I like the feeling of nailing a dive. From a recreational standpoint, I enjoy the thrill of trying new things."

I'm motivated by: "The new records on the record board, my family and my teammates."

Leah Hartman

Ovid-Elsie senior


Hartman bowled the first and one of only three 300 games in the state this season, on Jan. 4, according to listings maintained by the Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association. Her high series of 524 is third-best in the state this winter, and she's carrying a 201 game average this season. She qualified for last season's MHSAA Division 3 Final and made the all-state third team. She also played volleyball and softball at the start of high school, but has focused on bowling the last two years.

"My first 300 game was the most memorable because other coaches announced my game at other tournaments, and my name was on a neon sign at 300 Bowl in Alma. It gave me a feeling of accomplishment"

Up next: Hartman is considering Alma College because of its strong art program and bowling team. She plans to spend her first year of college deciding between a major in fine arts and accounting. She could also compete on the Michigan Junior Masters or Junior Gold circuits. Among her goals: bowl an 800 series and sell her art.

I learned the most about bowling from: “Mike Braun. He is the instructor at Lansing Community College. He teaches bowling and he has been helping me achieve better bowling techniques. But before him, it was my mom Sherri Hartman and dad Don Hartman."

I look up to: "My mom, because she is the one person who is strong enough to take on life. And my dad, who has helped me with my bowling since the beginning. Then I look up to Pete Weber and Norm Duke, who are, in my opinion, the best PBA bowlers to ever set a foot on the lanes."

I love bowling because: "I have a lot of stress built into my life, and it is hard for me to stay focused. But when I bowl, it is the one time I feel like a genius. I want to continue bowling becuase I feel like there is nothing better than the feeling of your first 300 game, and all the fans who are cheering for you to win.

I'm driven by: "... when I walk into a bowling alley and I run into my fans who are cheering me on every step of the way, and the applause whenever I hear my name announced. It makes me feel proud of myself when others cheer when they hear my name."

Adam Coon

Fowlerville junior


Coon is seeking his third MHSAA individual championship. He won both his District and Regional and enters next weekend's Finals with a 46-0 record this season and 153-3 record over his three-year high school career. He won his first two MHSAA championships at 215 pounds and moved to 285 this winter. He also is a three-year starter on the Gladiators' football team, playing linebacker and on the offensive line, and placed sixth in shot put in Division 2 at last spring's track and field Finals.

Up next: Coon is just a junior, but would like to wrestle or play football at the next level and study aerospace engineering, with his sights set on the space program. "I'd love to go to space. It's always been a dream."\

I learned the most about wrestling from: "My dad, Dan Coon. He is the (Fowlerville) coach, and he continues to push me and teaches me the most."

I look up to: "Dan Coon. He teaches me a lot about life and wrestling, and he's just a great guy to look up to."

I love most about wrestling: "The aggressiveness, the contact and necessary skill. The strategy behind it. The technical skill. It tests you mental wit and brute strength."

I get ready for my match by: "I warm up five matches previous. With one match left, I slap myself, then take off my sweats and go to town."

Most shining moment: "My most memorable win was in summer wrestling, in Hungary (at the Cadet World Championships) . I won the Finals match there. after being down 4-0, and came back and ended up body locking him and winning the match."

Detroit Martin Luther King boys basketball

The Crusaders avenged earlier losses to both Detroit Crockett and then Detroit Pershing to win the Detroit Public School League championship, downing the Doughboys in the final 76-69.

The PSL championship was King's first since 1999. The Crusaders are 15-4 heading into next week's Operation Friendship game against the Detroit Catholic High School League A-B champion, which will be decided Saturday. Click to see all of Detroit King's scores this season.

Little Provides Major Stride as 1st Woman to Officiate Boys Hoops Final since 1995

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

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.