Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Girls Report Week 6

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 10, 2022

Breslin Bound is returning this week just as league play is picking up serious steam across Michigan.

MI Student Aid

Whittling down to five “Can't-Miss Contests” this week started with a group of 15, including three contests featuring pairs of undefeated teams squaring off as we move toward midseason and the most local-focused part of most schedules.

“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. East Lansing 49, DeWitt 44 The Lansing area is loaded again in Division 1, with this victory possibly signaling the Trojans (5-2) as the early leader; they travel to DeWitt (7-1) for the rematch Feb. 10. 

2. DeWitt 24, Haslett 22 The week was a highly-competitive one for the Panthers, and they started it by handing Haslett (7-1) its first defeat. Haslett had previously downed East Lansing. 

3. Hudsonville 79, Grass Lake 51 After doubling up Grand Haven on Friday, reigning Division 1 champ Hudsonville (5-2) made it two wins in two days with this one Saturday over last season’s Division 3 winner Grass Lake (3-3). 

4. Farmington Hills Mercy 35, Bloomfield Hills Marian 29 These two have decided the Detroit Catholic League Central the last five seasons, and Mercy (6-1) is a step ahead this time after this win over the reigning champ Mustangs (5-2).  

5. Benton Harbor 44, Niles Brandywine 42 After starting 0-2 this winter, Benton Harbor (4-3) has won four of its last five games and handed Brandywine (7-1) its first defeat. 

Watch List

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

Division 1

Traverse City Central (6-1) The Trojans opened with a loss to Grand Haven, but are undefeated since and began Big North Conference play with a 32-26 victory over reigning champion Cadillac on Friday. And this start is worth a lot more than just an impressive record: Central finished 2-15 last year and is seeking its first winning season since 2016-17. The Trojans also started last week with a 49-40 win over Traverse City St. Francis (6-2). 

West Bloomfield (8-1) The Lakers are on schedule to be in the mix at the top of Division 1, where they sit No. 8 heading into this week. That lone loss came in the season opener to No. 4 Dexter, and West Bloomfield immediately followed up by handing South Lyon East what remains the Cougars’ only defeat. The run is made even more impressive in that six of the Lakers’ seven in-state opponents are .500 or better.

Division 2

Edwardsburg (6-0) The Eddies regularly are among the best from the southwest, and that hasn’t been any different this winter coming off last season’s run to 12-4 and a Regional Final. Edwardsburg is winning by an average of 45 points per game and avenged a last-year loss to Three Rivers. Undefeated Otsego (9-0) will provide a major opportunity Tuesday.

Marine City (7-1) The Mariners are another team that got started with a loss but haven’t experienced another. After falling 42-38 to Clawson (6-1), Marine City has won seven straight including over St. Clair Shores South Lake (7-2) and most recently 60-51 in overtime over St. Clair to avenge a loss from last season. The team got in only nine games last season and has already eclipsed its six 2021 wins.

Division 3

Calumet (5-0) After reaching the Division 3 Semifinals last season, Calumet again is surging among a strong Western Peninsula Athletic Conference and particularly powerful northern tip of the Upper Peninsula. The Copper Kings have handed Hancock its only defeat and came back a week later to edge Negaunee by a point in another important win. Undefeated Ishpeming Westwood and Houghton are on the slate over the next two weeks as Calumet looks to continue building on a 31-game regular-season winning streak.    

Sandusky (7-0) Longtime coach Al DeMott is up to 774 wins, just 23 from tying the state coaching record in girls basketball, and he’s bound to finish this season much closer to doing so after another great start. Sandusky handed Deckerville one of its two losses and Bad Axe its lone defeat, 32-30 on Dec. 9. DeMott recently received a John Wooden Legacy Award – as part of the inaugural class for high school coaches – from the National High School Basketball Coaches Association.

Division 4

Athens (7-1) After also opening this season with a defeat, to Adrian Lenawee Christian, Athens has run together seven straight wins with only one by single digits. That came last week, 45-43 in overtime over Bronson, a possible contender in the Big 8 Conference. Athens is following up last season’s 17-2 finish and has won two straight Southern Central Athletic Association West titles. 

Gaylord St. Mary (5-0) The Snowbirds’ quick ascension to the top of the Ski Valley Conference, where they are tied with Johannesburg-Lewiston, has included a 54-38 win over reigning Division 4 runner-up Bellaire (avenging three losses from last season) and a one-point victory over Charlevoix. St. Mary finished 13-4 a year ago and tied for the league title before falling to the Eagles in a Regional Semifinal. The Snowbirds host Johannesburg-Lewiston on Friday. 

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Montague (5-1) at Hart (5-1) – Montague’s West Michigan Conference title last season came in part with seven and 17-point wins over the eventual runner-up Pirates. 

Tuesday – Holt (5-0) at East Lansing (5-2) – The Rams can show they belong in the Lansing-area elite group referenced above with this Capital Area Activities Conference Blue faceoff for first. 

Tuesday – Farmington Hills Mercy (6-1) at Dearborn Divine Child (7-0) – The Falcons also own an early win over Marian and are looking to take the next step in the Detroit Catholic League Central race after finishing third the last four seasons.

Thursday – Buchanan (7-0) at Niles Brandywine (7-1) – The only loss between them was Brandywine’s also referenced above, and Buchanan is seeking to repeat as Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference Red champion after Brandywine won in 2019-20. 

Friday – Portland (6-0) at Lansing Catholic (9-0) – The reigning Division 2 champion Raiders won the CAAC White last season with 10 and 21-point wins over the Cougars, who can show how much ground they’ve made up.

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 Alma and Essexville Garber, here facing off last month, are among hopefuls in the Tri-Valley Conference 8 this winter. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

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.