Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Girls Report Week 11

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

February 14, 2022

We’re another step closer to starting the MHSAA Tournament in girls basketball, and we don’t have many steps left as the regular season draws to a close.

MI Student Aid

The formula for determining which teams will be placed on which lines was released today. This week’s games will be the last before the top two seeds in every District are determined and those brackets filled in Sunday.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at

Week in Review

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

1. Hudsonville 72, Rockford 62 The Eagles (14-2) finished a regular-season sweep of the Rams (14-2) to gain a two-game advantage in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red with four league games to play.

2. Frankenmuth 65, Saginaw Swan Valley 37 The Eagles (10-0) ran their league winning streak to 25 and pulled two victories from clinching a repeat in the Tri-Valley Conference 8 as Swan Valley (14-3) fell back into a tie for second.

3. Williamston 37, Haslett 33 The Hornets (12-6) can this week claim a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Red title after avenging a Jan. 6 loss to the second-place Vikings (11-4), who also have only one loss in the league but more games left to play.

4. Hartland 48, Howell 36 The Eagles (15-1) avenged their only loss of the season to create a tie atop the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West with the Highlanders (12-4).

5. Sparta 57, Belding 33 The Spartans (13-2) pulled ahead by half a game to lead the the O-K Silver, but second-place Belding (13-2) will hope to make up ground in tonight’s rematch.

Watch List

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

Division 1

Dexter (14-2) The Dreadnaughts will finish with at least a share of the Southeastern Conference Red title and likely more with a three-game lead and three league games to play. They moved to the Red after finishing second in the SEC White last season and sharing that league’s championship in 2019-20. After opening with a loss at Salem, Dexter has been nearly unstoppable with its only other defeat to Division 2 contender Redford Westfield Prep (16-1), 66-59 on Jan. 20. The Dreadnaughts have downed Temperance Bedford (11-4) twice and Saline (13-3) once, and see the latter and old rival Chelsea (14-2) during the final week of the regular season.

East Lansing (11-4) The Trojans clinched a share of their seventh-straight CAAC Blue championship, and that doesn’t include what could’ve been during last season’s 16-1 run to the Division 1 Quarterfinals when league standings weren’t kept because of the abbreviated schedule. There are a few more defeats this winter, but they came against Division 2 powers Detroit Edison (7-2) and Portland (15-1) and also-Division 1 contenders Parma Western (15-1) and Haslett (11-4). The Trojans have handed pairs of losses to DeWitt (11-3) and Holt (11-4) with wins over Williamston (12-6) and Muskegon (10-5) also helping push them into the No. 3 spot in Division 1 MPR.

Division 2

Clawson (14-2) A win tonight over Warren Woods-Tower will lock up a share of the Macomb Area Conference Silver title after Clawson won it outright the last two seasons. The Trojans showed how much difference a few weeks can make, falling to league co-leader St. Clair Shores South Lake (15-3) by 22 on Jan. 21 but winning the rematch 53-51 last Tuesday. The team’s only other loss was to Division 3 contender Madison Heights Bishop Foley (12-1), and Clawson has a pair of victories of Madison Heights Lamphere (11-5) and close one over a league champ in New Haven (11-4).

Sault Ste. Marie (13-4) The Blue Devils are likely to finish second to rival St. Ignace in the Straits Area Conference, but other intriguing possibilities are ahead for a team that’s tested against the best of the Upper Peninsula with some solid downstate games in the memory bank as well. Sault Ste. Marie split the season series with the Saints (14-2) and is 6-0 against Big North Conference opponents with a win over league leader Petoskey (10-6) and two apiece against second-place Alpena (10-7) and Gaylord (10-6). The Blue Devils also have defeated Great Northern Conference leader Marquette, with other losses to Division 1 DeWitt (11-3) and Muskegon Mona Shores (14-2).

Division 3

St. Ignace (14-2) The Saints are 11-0 during calendar year 2022, avenging an early 22-point loss to Sault Ste. Marie with a 47-36 win Feb. 4 to move into first alone in the Straits Area Conference after finishing league runner-up last winter. Always one to schedule tough, St. Ignace’s only other defeat came to Division 1 Port Huron (11-6), and the Saints are up to No. 3 in Division 3 MPR thanks in part to wins over Mackinaw City (16-1), Pickford (12-2) twice, Engadine (10-5) and Gaylord. Only Pickford and Gaylord have come within single digits since the new year began.

Schoolcraft (14-1) After falling to Division 4 contender Plymouth Christian Academy in the season opener, Schoolcraft is unbeaten and rarely challenged. A five-point win over Vicksburg (10-6) on Dec. 7 is the last time the Eagles have played a single-digit game, and that’s included pairs of matchups with Kalamazoo Christian (13-4) and Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep (11-6). They defeated both last week on the way to clinching the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley title outright and moving into No. 5 in Division 3 MPR. A Jan. 25 win over Buchanan (14-3) also is a booster for a team that finished second in its league a year ago but surged all the way to the Quarterfinals.

Division 4

Fowler (13-2) This winter has worked out almost as well as the reigning Division 4 champion could have wanted, save for its games against one opponent – Portland St. Patrick, which has won both regular-season meetings to all but lock up the Central Michigan Athletic Conference title. But the Eagles should get another opportunity against the Shamrocks in the District, and they have plenty to boast with wins over Saginaw Nouvel (12-3), Plymouth Christian (14-3) and Stockbridge (12-5) and a nice test this week against reigning Division 2 champion Portland (15-1). They also have all-state sisters Mia and Emma Riley still leading the way after scoring 34 of the team’s 54 points in last season’s Final.

Saginaw Nouvel (12-3) A 1-3 start against some tough competition no doubt vaulted Nouvel into its 11-game winning streak that has the Panthers a half-game ahead of the field in the TVC 10 and No. 8 in Division 4 MPR. Nouvel avenged its lone league loss, in December in overtime to Standish-Sterling (13-3), with a 55-33 victory Feb. 1. The Panthers also have wins over Hemlock (12-3), Saginaw Valley Lutheran (10-6), and Midland Bullock Creek (10-6) twice. Nouvel had finished second to Standish in the TVC 10 a year ago before reaching the Division 4 Quarterfinals.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Midland Dow (15-1) at Flushing (15-2) – This is a rematch of a 2021 Division 1 Regional Final, won by Dow by 10 as the Chargers eventually reached the Semifinals at Breslin Center.

Thursday – Hart (14-2) at Montague (13-3) – Hart won the first meeting 37-36 on Jan. 11 and can clinch a share of the West Michigan Conference title, but a Montague victory would set up the likely possibility of a shared championship.

Thursday – McBain (15-2) at Lake City (16-1) – As long as both win their Tuesday games, this will be a winner-take-all for the Highland Conference championship and with Lake City having won the first meeting 44-42 on Jan. 18.

Thursday – Harbor Springs (16-1) at Elk Rapids (14-2) – Elk Rapids has a half-game lead on Harbor Springs in the Lake Michigan Conference, but also must go through third-place Traverse City St. Francis on Tuesday.

Thursday – Detroit Edison (7-2) at Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (13-1) – This was previously scheduled for last week but would be one of the biggest games statewide no matter when it would be played.

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 Frankenmuth’s Clare Conzelmann (10) moves the ball around the arc during last week’s win over Saginaw Swan Valley. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)

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.