Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Girls Report Week 12

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

February 20, 2023

The seeds for this season’s District brackets are set as nearly 700 Michigan girls basketball teams are finishing up their regular seasons this week in advance of the playoffs beginning Feb. 27.

MI Student Aid

Brackets were seeded and filled Sunday, and published here for all four divisions:

Division 1 | Division 2 | Division 3 | Division 4

This will be the last of our regular-season “Breslin Bound” reports, as next week we switch the format up a bit while previewing several of the strongest Districts across the state.

“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. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 41, Farmington Hills Mercy 27 The Irish (17-3) won the season series with Mercy (17-3), following up their league schedule split with this victory in the Detroit Catholic League Bishop championship game.

2. Grosse Pointe North 36, Utica Ford 28 A Feb. 7 matchup was canceled, but these league champions met after all as North (17-2) claimed the Macomb Area Conference Red/White Tournament title against the Falcons (17-2).

3. Dansville 43, Fowler 38 (OT) The Aggies (17-1) clinched a share of the Central Michigan Athletic Conference championship in memorable fashion by completing a regular-season sweep of the two-time reigning Division 4 champion Eagles (13-7).

4. Frankenmuth 46, Freeland 39 (OT) The Eagles (17-2) ran their Tri-Valley Conference 8 winning streak to 41 in clinching a share of a third-straight league title, with their last TVC loss coming in 2020 to the Falcons (15-5).

5. Rockford 50, Haslett 36 This matchup of league champions saw Rockford move to 19-1 in handing Haslett (20-1) its only defeat.



Watch List

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


Coldwater (19-1) The Cardinals made a jump from three wins just two seasons ago to 12-10 last winter and now near-perfect and in position to at least share the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference championship. Coldwater avenged that lone loss, 50-46 to Jackson Northwest on Jan. 10, with a 57-51 victory Feb. 7. Those two are tied for the league lead with two games left to play for both. Coldwater also earned the top seed at the Battle Creek Lakeview District.

North Farmington (20-0) The Raiders are another notable story of a quick turnaround as they’ve gone from six wins two seasons ago to 12-9 last winter to undefeated. They lead the Oakland Activities Association White by a game over Oxford and face the Wildcats on Tuesday with an opportunity to clinch the championship outright. North Farmington also earned the second seed in the District it will be hosting next week.


Marysville (16-4) The Vikings have won 11 of their last 12 games, along the way clinching the MAC Blue championship and winning the MAC Blue/Gold Tournament last week with a 41-22 victory over Marine City (15-4). Marysville also avenged an early loss to St. Clair (14-6) in the tournament semifinal, and earned the top seed in the District hosted by Armada as the Vikings seek to build on last year’s Quarterfinal run.

Wayland (17-3) The Wildcats had averaged nearly 14 wins over the last three seasons, so they’ve grown accustomed to being in the mix. But this winter has seen another step forward, as Wayland has won 13 of its last 14 games and clinched a share of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold title with a 46-39 victory Friday over Grand Rapids South Christian – which had handed the Wildcats their most recent defeat, 54-48 on Jan. 20. Wayland also earned a top District seed, at Hopkins, with its only other losses to Byron Center (17-3) and Grand Rapids West Catholic (19-0).


Ithaca (17-3) The Yellowjackets have bounced back from a two-game stumble near the end of January to earn a chance to clinch a share of the Tri-Valley Conference 10-2 title Friday. They’re tied atop the league with Saginaw Valley Lutheran – with which they split their regular-season series – and Ithaca earned the second seed in one of the strongest Districts in Division 3, at Bath. Ithaca is up to No. 9 overall in Division 3 MPR, with wins over Valley Lutheran (17-3) and Standish-Sterling (17-3) among 10 total over teams with winning records.

Watervliet (16-4) The Panthers finished a perfect run through the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore last week with a second win over Bridgman (15-4), with that pair and another over SAC Central champion Martin (15-4) among the most notable victories next also to strong losses to Buchanan (18-1), Benton Harbor (13-8), Kalamazoo Christian (17-3) and Stevensville Lakeshore (14-5). Watervliet will be the top seed next week at Bloomingdale.


Ontonagon (15-5) The Gladiators have won 15 games for the second-straight season and at least 13 for the fifth consecutive, and they’ve clinched a title share of the Porcupine Mountain division of the Copper Mountain Conference. Ontonagon is the top seed at next week’s District at Bessemer and is 9-0 this season against the other teams in the bracket, with a pair of wins over second seed Ewen-Trout Creek part of the team’s best work. The Gladiators also have a sweep of Lake Linden-Hubbell (15-5) and notable losses to Baraga (16-4) twice, Hancock (17-1) and Calumet (15-4).

Petersburg Summerfield (18-2) A 46-28 win over Morenci on Thursday avenged a 48-41 loss from Jan. 17 and locked up a shared Tri-County Conference championship between the two. Summerfield also sits No. 15 overall in Division 4 MPR and is the top seed at next week’s District at Britton Deerfield. The Bulldogs’ only other loss this season was to Division 2 Ida, 50-42 on Dec. 6, and they defeated Manchester and East Jackson at the end of that month to win Adrian College’s holiday tournament.


Can’t-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Holt (17-3) at DeWitt (18-2) – The Rams own a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title thanks to a 55-53 win over the Panthers from Jan. 31, but DeWitt still has a chance to earn a share as well.

Thursday – Lake City (19-1) at McBain (16-4) – Three teams still have a chance to earn a piece of the Highland Conference title, with this matchup determining if Lake City claims it outright or shares it with McBain and Evart.

Thursday – Wixom St. Catherine (19-1) at Riverview (18-2) – These two will get some more valuable postseason prep with Riverview No. 16 in Division 1 MPR and St. Catherine No. 7 in Division 2.

Thursday – Detroit Renaissance (18-0) at Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard (17-3) – The champions of the Detroit Public School League and Catholic League Bishop tournaments, respectively, meet in the annual Operation Friendship game.

Thursday – Farwell (16-4) at Sanford Meridian (18-1) – Should both win (or both lose) Tuesday, this will determine if Meridian wins the Jack Pine Conference title outright or shares it with the Eagles.'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 North Farmington's Penelope Creary (3) brings the ball upcourt during her team's Feb. 16 win over Rochester Adams. (Photo courtesy of the North Farmington athletic department.)

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.