Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Girls Report Week 1

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 6, 2021

Winter has moved in across Michigan, and this time we’re on time with the start of girls basketball season.

MI Student AidLast season’s delayed start isn’t too distant of a memory yet, but a number of teams tipping off last week are putting disappointing finishes behind them, and we’ve features some of those below.

Every Monday with “Breslin Bound” we’ll take glances at five scores that especially jumped out from the previous week, provide snapshots of two teams in each division to watch as the winter progresses, and then give a glimpse of five intriguing matchups on the schedule during the week to come.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at Send corrections or missing scores to [email protected].

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results: 

1. Plymouth Christian Academy 65, Detroit Country Day 49 The Eagles wasted no time making a statement with this win over a returning Division 2 semifinalist; Country Day had won last season’s matchup 57-43.  

2. Parma Western 43, Grass Lake 30 The Panthers put an exclamation mark on a 2-0 opening week with this win over the reigning Division 3 champion. 

3.Essexville Garber 50, Saginaw Nouvel 49 The Dukes began rebounding from last season’s 4-11 finish immediately last week, edging a Nouvel team that went 17-2 last winter and came within a bucket of the Division 4 Semifinals. 

4. Bloomfield Hills Marian 54, Clarkston 48 This rematch of a Regional Final again went Marian’s way, but a little closer than the 63-50 Mustangs win in March. 

5. Saginaw Arthur Hill 43, Flint Hamady 29 The Lumberjacks won one game last season, and lost to Division 3 perennial power Hamady by 16 in an early-March matchup.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:

Division 1

Grandville (3-0) After just a week, the Bulldogs are one win from equaling their win totals of each of the last three seasons – which all finished with four victories. Grandville opened with a 49-33 win over Middleville Thornapple Kellogg, then defeated Petoskey 40-37 and Marquette 42-37 to win the Northmen’s tournament. 

Portage Northern (2-0) The Huskies opened with a championship at the Kalamazoo Loy Norrix Tournament, defeating Lansing Everett 43-14 and then the host Knights 49-34. Northern won only one game last season, also against Loy Norrix, and with two more wins will guarantee their best finish since 2016-17. 

Division 2

Ovid-Elsie (2-0) The Marauders won 15 games two seasons ago and finished 12-5 during last winter’s shortened campaign. They lost the first game both of those seasons – but not this time, as they’re instead building off a pair of opening victories over Ionia (54-52) and Bath (50-29). 

Sparta (2-0) The Spartans finished 12-4 last season and had won 10 straight before ending their season with a District Final loss to Newaygo, the eventual Division 2 runner-up. Sparta picked right back up last week with a 41-23 win over Muskegon Oakridge and 44-35 victory over Greenville. 

Division 3 

Harbor Springs (2-0) The Rams are coming off a 2-14 finish that included 11 straight defeats to begin last season. But Harbor Springs opened last week with a 52-38 win over Johannesburg-Lewiston and followed with a 60-45 victory over Indian River Inland Lakes. Those opponents went a combined 18-9 last winter. 

Montrose (2-0) After winning two games a season ago, and six in 2019-20, the Rams won both of their games during the first week – in some dramatic fashion. Montrose edged Burton Bendle 43-42 on Monday and came back with a 44-42 win over Genesee the following evening. Genesee is coming off its second-straight winning season. 

Division 4

Cedarville (2-0) The Islanders – 10-3 last winter – are off to a fast start with wins last week over two teams also coming off winning seasons. They opened with a 57-37 victory over Hillman, which was 10-7 last winter, and then emerged 50-47 over Frankfort, which was 13-5 and reached the Regional Finals a season ago.

Plymouth Christian Academy (2-0) As noted above, the Eagles – 10-4 last season – opened with the win over Detroit Country Day. They then defeated Schoolcraft at the Kalamazoo Central Icebreaker; Schoolcraft went 14-3 and made the Division 3 Quarterfinals last winter.

Can't-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:  

Tuesday – Midland Dow (2-0) at Hudsonville (1-0) – This is a rematch of a Division 1 Semifinal from last season; Hudsonville won 49-37 and went on to claim the championship.

Tuesday – Sault Ste. Marie (1-0) at Marquette (2-1) – Sault Ste. Marie went 14-2 last season and the Redettes finished almost the opposite, but they did hand the Blue Devils their only regular-season defeat.

Wednesday – Lansing Catholic (1-0) at Detroit Cass Tech (0-0) – These are two more teams looking to build on double-digit wins last season.

Saturday – Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (0-0) vs. Wayne Memorial (0-0) at Belleville – This Best of Michigan Classic matchup features teams that went a combined 31-6 last season.

Saturday – Buchanan (2-0) vs. Grosse Pointe South (0-1) at Belleville – Another Best of Michigan game matches Buchanan – 13-1 last season – against a South team that lost its opener last week but also won 13 games last winter.

Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO Williamston’s Reese Gaytan works to get a shot up with Portland’s Alexa Weber defending Friday. (Photo courtesy of the Lansing State Journal.)

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.