Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Girls Quarterfinal Preview
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 15, 2022
We're reached the final stretch of this season's Breslin Bound trip, as 685 varsity teams have become just 32 remaining for tonight's Quarterfinals across the state.
We've given a glance at all 16 games below as we prepare for a more significant preview of Thursday and Friday's Semifinals at Michigan State. We'll be posting those throughout Wednesday.
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West Bloomfield (22-1) vs. Troy (13-11) at University of Detroit Mercy, 7 p.m.
Troy is appearing in its first Quarterfinal, and West Bloomfield its first since 2003. They both play in the Oakland Activities Association Red, clinched by West Bloomfield with Troy finishing fourth and the Lakers winning both regular-season meetings. West Bloomfield made its biggest headline with a 65-62 win over Detroit Edison, and they’re led by sophomore twins Summer Davis (14.5 ppg) and Indya Davis (14.3). Four seniors start for Troy, with 6-foot-2 Kendal Zeiter leading the scoring at 17.4 points per game.
Rockford (22-2) vs. East Lansing (19-4) at Calvin University
The Trojans, returning to the Quarterfinals for the second-straight season, are looking to advance for the first time since 2018. Senior guard Soraya Timms sets the pace at 13.9 points, 5.6 assists and 4.8 steals per game. Rockford is making its second Quarterfinal appearance, and first since 2010, after defeating reigning Division 1 champion Hudsonville in the Regional Final. Sophomore guard Grace Lyons leads a balanced lineup scoring 11.8 points per game with 49 3-pointers, making nearly 47 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc.
Midland Dow (23-1) vs. Hartland (23-1) at Lapeer
This is a rematch of last season’s Quarterfinal, won by Dow 42-32, as the Chargers went on to fall to eventual champion Hudsonville in a Semifinal. Dow’s only loss this season was in overtime in mid-January to Division 2 quarterfinalist Frankenmuth, and the Chargers are paced by senior standouts Alexa Kolnitys (18.1 ppg, 4.7 assists per game) and Abby Rey (17.6 ppg, 56 3-pointers). Hartland, which lost to Howell but avenged that defeat twice, features a balanced lineup with four players averaging 8-10 ppg, with 6-2 senior Lauren Sollom a tough post matchup.
Wayne Memorial (22-2) vs. Riverview (20-4) at Ypsilanti Lincoln
Wayne is playing in its fourth-straight Quarterfinal (not counting 2020, when the season was ended early because of COVID-19), and made the Semifinals a year ago. The Zebras have only one senior in the starting lineup and should continue to surge. Riverview is coming off its first Regional championship and has won 18 straight since its last loss Jan. 2. The Pirates downed Temperance Bedford (17-6) and Dearborn Divine Child (19-5) last week to advance. Junior Elyssa Kincaid (16 ppg) leads three averaging at least 14 points per game for Riverview.
Grand Rapids West Catholic (23-1) vs. Edwardsburg (24-0) at Wayland
Both of these teams took the next step last week after falling in Regional Finals a year ago, Edwardsburg reaching the Quarterfinals for the first time and West Catholic the first time since 1995. The Falcons’ only loss was in December, by four, to Division 1 quarterfinalist Rockford. Senior guard Abbey Kimball, the Miss Basketball Award runner-up, leads with 25.1 ppg and 97 3-pointers – the latter good for third-most in one season in MHSAA history. Edwardsburg has a major long-distance threat as well – senior Katie Schaible is one of three Eddies averaging in double figures (11.6 ppg), and she has 69 3-pointers.
Detroit Country Day (12-7) vs. Marysville (22-2) at University of Detroit Mercy, 5:30 p.m.
Country Day is returning to the season’s final week after making the Semifinals last season, while Marysville is here for the first time. Four of last season’s Semifinal starters fill the lineup again for the Yellowjackets. Marysville has won 19 straight since last losing Dec. 21. Senior guard Kaitlyn Cain leads at 14.4 ppg and also tops the team in rebounds and steals.
Portland (23-1) vs. Detroit Edison (16-3) at Williamston
This highly-anticipated matchup sends the reigning Division 2 champion and current No. 3 (by MPR) Raiders against the overall Division 2 top-seeded Pioneers, who celebrated senior Ruby Whitehorn (23.9 points, 12.1 rebounds per game) as the Miss Basketball Award winner Monday. The West Bloomfield defeat (see above) was Edison’s only in-state loss playing a schedule loaded with Division 1, 2 and 3 contenders. Portland’s lone loss came to No. 7 Lansing Catholic and was avenged twice. Senior guard Ashley Bower (19.1 ppg) also was the team’s leading scorer last season.
Ludington (19-5) vs. Frankenmuth (22-2) at Cadillac
Frankenmuth is returning to the Quarterfinals for the first time since 1996, and despite losing an all-stater to injury in the season opener. Sophomore Mia McLaughlin leads a balanced lineup in scoring (14.3 ppg), rebounds, assists and steals and is tied for the team lead in blocks. Ludington is returning to the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2008, with senior RyAnn Rohrer and junior Keelyn Laird leading another balanced lineup scoring 10.7 ppg apiece.
Maple City Glen Lake (24-0) vs. Lake City (20-4) at Traverse City Central
Glen Lake is returning to the Quarterfinals for the second straight season and seeking to make the Semifinals for the first time since 2018 after its only loss last season was in that Quarterfinal to Calumet. Senior guard Grace Bradford leads in scoring (22.9 ppg), 3-pointers, rebounds, assists and steals. Lake City returned to the Quarterfinals most recently in 2019, and avenged two late losses this winter during the postseason. Cousins Chloe Bisballe (13.1 ppg), a senior, and sophomore Mackenzie Bisballe (15.4) combine to lead the team in most major stat categories.
Dansville (17-7) vs. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (22-2) at Concord
Arbor Prep is the No. 1 overall seed in Division 3 and lost only to Division 1 Parma Western and Division 2 top seed Detroit Edison, with wins over Wayne Memorial and Frankenmuth among others. Senior Mya Petticord (22.9 ppg) was a Miss Basketball Award finalist. Arbor Prep made the Quarterfinals as recently as 2019, while Dansville is making an appearance for the first time since 2008. The Aggies avenged a regular-season loss to Leslie and defeated 2021 Division 3 champion Grass Lake last week. Senior Erin Sherwood is the leading scorer at 16.4 ppg.
Kent City (24-0) vs. Schoolcraft (23-1) at Otsego
This is another Quarterfinal rematch from last season. After falling a two-point loss shy from claiming a first Finals championship last year, Kent City is back and undefeated again with four starters returning from that runner-up team. Junior Lexie Bowers (17 ppg) and sophomore Madelyn Geers (14.4) should make the team a contender next season as well. Schoolcraft’s only defeat was in its season opener to Division 4 quarterfinalist Plymouth Christian Academy, and it is looking to reach the Semifinals for the first time. Senior Mackenzie Miller leads at 16 ppg.
Madison Heights Bishop Foley (19-3) vs. Reese (20-4) at West Bloomfield
Reese is making its first appearance in a Quarterfinal and Bishop Foley its second after advancing last year for the first time. The Rockets defeated two league champions in winning last week’s Regional, with senior standouts from the Division 3-winning volleyball team Aydan Dalak (15 ppg) and Josie Johnson (12) the leading scorers. Senior center Melanie Moore (17.1 ppg) leads a Bishop Foley team that fell to Arbor Prep by only five in the regular-season finale before starting a dominating tourney run.
Baraga (22-1) vs. Pickford (19-2) at Munising
Pickford has broken through with its first Regional title since 1988, its only losses this season to Division 3 St. Ignace and impressive tournament wins over Mackinaw City (18-4), Engadine (15-8) and Posen (21-2). Senior Kennedy Guild leads four averaging double-digit scoring at 19.2 ppg, with 61 3-pointers. Baraga is back at the Quarterfinals having most recently advanced in 2019, and with its only loss this season to Division 2 Houghton. Senior Reide Osterman (16.1 ppg) and junior Cori Jahfetson (13.8) set the pace for the Vikings.
Gaylord St. Mary (22-2) vs. Fowler (21-3) at Clare
The reigning Division 4 champion Eagles last saw St. Mary in a 2019 Quarterfinal win, and they bring three starters from last year’s championship game back into this final week including all-state guards Mia and Emma Riley. St. Mary avenged one of its two losses, to 2021 Division 4 runner-up Bellaire, during this postseason as part of a 10-game winning streak. The Snowbirds have four scoring in double digits, led by junior Ava Schultz (13.3 ppg, 74 3-pointers).
Muskegon Heights Academy (9-8) vs. Adrian Lenawee Christian (18-6)
Lenawee Christian is back at the Quarterfinals for the third time in four seasons (not counting 2020’s COVID-related early ending). Senior guard Kylie Summer is the leading scorer at 11.3 points per game, and she’s drilled 62 3-pointers. Muskegon Heights is coming off its first Regional title since 1995 and has won seven of its last nine games. The future looks bright as well, as the team starts all sophomores and juniors.
Plymouth Christian Academy (20-4) vs. Genesee Christian (20-4) at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore
Plymouth Christian Academy entered the postseason as the No. 1 overall seed in Division 4, and has returned to the Quarterfinals for the second time and first since 2013. Genesee Christian is making its first appearance in this round. Lone senior Anna Fernandez paces PCA at 17.1 ppg, while Genesee Christian is similarly well-positioned for the future with a freshman and sophomore in the starting lineup.
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PHOTOS (Top) Hartland's Gracey Metz (23) works to get the ball upcourt against Clarkston last week. (Middle) Country Day's Aysia Yokely (21) bursts past halfcourt during last week's win over Livonia Clarenceville. (Top photo by Terry Lyons, middle photo by Douglas Bargerstock.)
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.
But 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 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 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.