Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Girls Report Week 9

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 31, 2022

As February begins, some key dates should be on your girls basketball calendar:

MI Student Aid

In two weeks, Feb. 14, the MHSAA will announce the formula for drawing this season’s District tournaments.

On Feb. 20, Districts will be posted with the top-two seeded teams on opposite sides of those brackets.

On Feb. 28, those Districts will begin play and the MHSAA Tournament will be underway.

For a more detailed explanation of the seeding process, click here. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy – league tournaments for those playing them begin over the next few weeks, and the rest are rolling into the second runs through conference play with plenty of major matchups anchoring the calendar’s shortest month.

“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. Farmington Hills Mercy 46, Dearborn Divine Child 43 With a week left in the league schedule, the Marlins (11-2) are back tied for first in the Detroit Catholic League Central after a Jan. 11 loss to Divine Child (12-1) had left them chasing the last few weeks.

2. Detroit Cass Tech 62, Detroit Renaissance 61 (OT) The Detroit Public School League schedule also finishes this week, and this shook up the Blue standings as Renaissance (9-2) hadn’t lost in league play.

3. Dexter 43, Saline 39 The Dreadnaughts (10-2) closed the first half of the Southeastern Conference Red schedule in first after handing Saline (11-1) its first loss.

4. Rockford 47, Holland West Ottawa 20 The Rams (12-1) kept pace a game back of leader Hudsonville in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Blue, while also knocking West Ottawa (10-3) out of a tie for first.

5. Escanaba 56, Calumet 50 The Eskymos (7-5) have won five straight and with this victory handed Calumet (11-1) its lone defeat, with a rematch coming up Feb. 11.

Watch List

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

Division 1

Macomb L’Anse Creuse North (13-1) The Crusaders have put together four straight winning seasons and are playing for a third-straight league title this winter – plus likely much more. LCN is a combined 31-2 over the last two seasons after reaching the Division 1 Quarterfinals last year, and the only loss this winter came in mid-December to Grosse Pointe North (10-1) – a possible Quarterfinals opponent this March.  

Wayne Memorial (11-1) After falling to Division 3 contender Ypsilanti Arbor Prep in its season opener, Wayne Memorial has not been defeated and rarely challenged. The Zebras are in first in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East and own a 40-point win over the second-place team, and their first win this winter was by 17 over 2021 Division 1 runner-up Detroit Renaissance. Wayne had fallen to Renaissance 75-72 in last year’s Semifinal.

Division 2

Detroit Edison (5-1) The Pioneers are again considered the top team in Michigan regardless of division, with their lone loss in double overtime to Indiana power South Bend Washington on Dec. 11. Edison has had four games canceled, but finally had an opportunity to play a full week and defeated Division 1 East Lansing (8-4) and Parma Western (11-1), to go with an earlier win over reigning Division 1 champion Hudsonville. Edison makes a trip to Illinois this weekend, but has intriguing back-to-back games with Farmington Hills Mercy and Arbor Prep coming up.

Portland (11-1) The reigning Division 2 champion made a couple of loud statements last week, adding the best wins of a big start 45-21 over Division 1 East Lansing and 40-34 over Haslett (10-2). The only loss this winter came to league rival Lansing Catholic by three on Jan. 14 – and the Raiders host the rematch Feb. 18, with dates against Detroit Renaissance and Division 4 contender Fowler also coming up.

Division 3

Bloomingdale (11-1) The Cardinals are lined up well to win at least 15 games for the third season over the last four (and after going 11-4 during last year’s abbreviated winter). They also control their destiny as they look to repeat in the Southwest 10 Conference, thanks to an assist from third-place Mendon, which defeated co-leader Hartford last week. Hartford won the first round against Bloomingdale by six Jan. 11, with the rematch at Hartford in the regular-season finale Feb. 22. Bloomingdale defeated Mendon (10-2) by six Jan. 19.

Brooklyn Columbia Central (10-2) The Golden Eagles moved into first place alone in the Lenawee County Athletic Association last week by completing a season sweep of former co-leader Blissfield (10-4). Columbia Central then hung on to first by avenging its lone league loss with Thursday’s 51-46 win over third-place Onsted (9-5). Next up is last season’s Division 3 champ Grass Lake, and Division 4 contender Adrian Lenawee Christian will provide a solid challenge heading into the playoffs.

Division 4

Bay City All Saints (7-2) The Cougars opened their current four-game winning streak with a 33-28 win over Carsonville-Port Sanilac, the second-place team in the North Central Thumb League Stripes. Thanks to that victory, All Saints leads the division as it looks to add a second title in three seasons; the Cougars were second last year while getting in only seven games total. The team’s two losses this winter were to contenders in the NCTL Stars.

Pickford (7-1) The Pirates finished the first half of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Conference schedule undefeated in league play and won those five games by an average of 27.6 points per. But the most telling result might have been the team’s lone loss; Pickford’s 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons ended with District losses to St. Ignace, but the Pirates fell only 58-56 to the Saints (11-2) on Jan. 19 and see them again Tuesday.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Portland St. Patrick (13-0) at Fowler (11-1) – The Central Michigan Athletic Conference title and a top District seed may be on the line as Fowler looks to avenge a 53-49 loss in the first meeting Dec. 17 between these Division 4 contenders.

Wednesday – Lansing Catholic (13-0) at Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (11-0) – The Cougars are No. 5 in Division 2 MPR, and Arbor Prep is No. 1 in Division 3.

Thursday – Traverse City St. Francis (10-3) at Harbor Springs (12-1) – The Gladiators have a half-game lead atop the Lake Michigan Conference thanks to a 54-37 win in these teams’ Jan. 12 meeting.

Friday – Morley Stanwood (11-1) at Kent City (13-0) – Kent City won the Dec. 17 meeting 65-55 and can move within a game of clinching the Central State Activities Association Silver title by completing a sweep.

Friday – Sault Ste. Marie (10-3) at St. Ignace (11-2) – These are considered among the best in Divisions 2 and 3, respectively, and sit tied for first in the Straits Area Conference with St. Ignace winning the Dec. 16 meeting 51-29.

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 Fowler, here against Bath, will face Portland St. Patrick this week in one of the season’s most anticipated rematches. (Photo by Christine McCallister.)

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.