Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Girls Report Week 7
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
January 17, 2022
We’ve reached the midway point of girls basketball season for most of Michigan’s teams – with seven weeks done and seven more until District play begins.
And we’re getting a better idea every week about which teams might be extending their stays a week, two or three longer.
Our latest look at the week that was includes a few references to MPR – Michigan Power Ratings – the metric used to seed the top two teams in every District. Click to see the girls basketball MPR in full.
“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Lansing Catholic 55, Portland 52 The Cougars (11-0) earned higher billing in the Capital Area Activities Association White and statewide Division 2 conversations in dealing reigning league and Finals champion Portland its first loss.
2. Howell 37, Hartland 31 The Highlanders (6-3) halted Hartland’s regular-season winning streak at 33 in dealing the Eagles (8-1) their lone defeat.
3. Hudsonville 62, Rockford 48 The Eagles (7-2) set themselves up as the top contenders in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red with undefeated Holland West Ottawa, although Rockford (8-1) is likely to be heard from again.
4. Edwardsburg 52, Otsego 32 The Eddies (9-0) made their undefeated start look even stronger in handing previously-undefeated Otsego (10-1) this loss.
5. Traverse City St. Francis 54, Harbor Springs 37 The Gladiators (8-2) also handed out a first loss last week, riding a strong defensive effort to this win over the Rams (8-1).
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Battle Creek Lakeview (9-0) The Spartans are consistently a top team in southwest Michigan, and they raised their profile even more over the last few seasons with 16 wins in 2019-20 and a 13-2 record last year. They opened this one with a 36-33 win over Marshall (6-3), and the highlight of the first half almost assuredly was a 39-38 win over Kalamazoo Central on Dec. 9; Central dealt Lakeview both of those losses last year.
Dearborn Divine Child (9-0) Wins over annual favorites Bloomfield Hills Marian and Farmington Hills Mercy to start the 2022 calendar year have vaulted Divine Child to the top of the Detroit Catholic League Central. The Falcons also are No. 2 in Division 1 MPR with six opponents boasting winning records. The Marian and Mercy rematches come up over the next week, and Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard also could provide a couple of tests.
Frankenmuth (8-1) The Eagles took over first place alone in the Tri-Valley Conference 8 with a 50-45 win over Freeland on Friday, as they look to repeat as league champions. Arbor Prep (see below) is the only team to deal Frankenmuth a loss this season, during the Motor City Roundball Classic. The Eagles reached the Regional Finals last year, falling by four to Portland, and will have an opportunity to avenge last season’s other defeat when they face Division 1 contender Midland Dow on Tuesday.
Tecumseh (10-0) A frequent contender in the Southeastern Conference White the last few seasons, Tecumseh looks like an early favorite this winter after a perfect first half filled with impressive performances. Tecumseh is winning its games by an average of 36.2 points per, with victories over Blissfield (8-3) and Onsted (8-1) among the most impressive.
Niles Brandywine (9-1) The Bobcats quickly bounced back from their lone loss, by two points Jan. 7 to Division 2 Benton Harbor (5-3), to hand Buchanan (9-1) its only loss; Brandywine will meet the Bucks again Feb. 17 in Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference Red play. Brandywine also owns a 59-54 overtime win over Bronson, but no other opponent has come closer than 15 points.
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (8-0) The Gators on Thursday handed Redford Westfield Prep its lone loss; Arbor Prep previously did the same to Wayne Memorial and Frankenmuth, and seven of eight opponents this season have .600 or higher winning percentages. None but Westfield has come closer than 15 points of catching the Gators, who are led by one of the state’s best in senior Mya Petticord.
Coleman (7-1) The Comets are seeking their first league title in at least a decade, and look well on their way after handing reigning Mid-State Activities Conference champ St. Charles its lone league loss Jan. 10 and then contender Carson City-Crystal the same 33-31 on Friday. The lone defeat came to Farwell (6-3) on Dec. 8, but Coleman has otherwise shined as it builds on last year’s 12-7 overall finish.
Posen (8-0) The Vikings are another team always in the mix. They’re playing for what would be a fifth-straight league title coming off last year’s 15-2 run that also included a District championship. A 56-49 overtime win over Oscoda capped the 2021 calendar year, and a 50-46 win over Hillman on Friday put Posen in a solid position in North Star League play as they approach the midpoint.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Houghton (10-0) at Calumet (7-0) – These undefeated teams meet for the only time during the regular season in a matchup that eventually could decide the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference title.
Tuesday – Midland Dow (8-0) at Frankenmuth (8-1) – The Chargers are No. 4 in Division 1 MPR and the Eagles are No. 3 in Division 2.
Tuesday – Elk Rapids (6-1) at Traverse City St. Francis (8-2) – These two have emerged as the early favorites in the Lake Michigan Conference again; Elk Rapids was last season’s champion and St. Francis the runner-up.
Tuesday – Sanford Meridian (10-1) at Coleman (7-1) – Both are leading their leagues, Coleman the MSAC (see above) and Meridian the Jack Pine Conference.
Thursday – East Lansing (7-2) at Detroit Edison (3-1) – This also matches up two of the elite from Divisions 1 and 2, respectively.
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 www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO Muskegon takes on Grand Rapids Union on Jan. 11 in what would end up the second of a current three-game winning streak for the Big Reds. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)
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.