Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 1

December 3, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

More than 700 girls basketball teams hope to be playing at Michigan State University's Breslin Center when this season ends. 

That may be fourth months away. But those quests began last week. 

Each Monday, Second Half will tell you about 10 teams and individuals who jumped out the week before. What's below isn't any sort of statewide ranking – merely a top-10 list of notables for fans no matter where they live and who they will cheer on this winter. 

I fully admit I won't be able to catch every team that does something special. That's where you come in. Post below and let us know which teams did what, or who we should watch coming up. 

1. Brownstown-Woodhaven (1-0) – Much is expected this season out of the Warriors, who finished 22-2 last season. And Detroit Country Day is replacing an all-state backcourt that graduated a year ago. But a win over Country Day is still a win over Country Day, and Brownstown-Woodhaven got one Saturday, 54-52.

2. Goodrich (1-0) – The reigning Class B champion beat the reigning Class C runner-up, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, 51-42. Goodrich still has a number of key pieces from last season’s run, while University Liggett has a few too, but is replacing Miss Basketball Madison Ristovski.

3. AuGres-Sims (2-0) – Welcome to high school basketball, Cassidy Boensch. AuGres’ 6-foot-2 freshman had 29 points, 17 rebounds, 16 blocks and 13 steals in her team’s 55-16 win over Whittemore-Prescott, and then 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks in a 51-42 win over Fairview. Click to read more from the Bay City Times.

4. East Lansing (1-0) – The Trojans and Lansing Waverly regularly have been the Lansing area’s best over the last decade and regularly face each other on the first Friday. This time the Trojans won big, 72-44.

5. West Bloomfield (1-0) – West Bloomfield got off to a good start with a 52-44 win over a team that has finished the last three seasons with victories. Waterford Our Lady has won the last three Class D championships.

6. Hartland (2-0) – The Eagles returned to the court after their 21-win season and second straight District title with a pair of close victories. Hartland beat Holly 36-31 and then Fenton 49-48.

7. Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (2-0) – The Cardinals showed perhaps some of the poise they learned during last season’s run to the Class D Quarterfinals. They won two close ones over Class B teams, 49-47 over Standish Sterling and 33-31 over Hemlock.

8. Oxford (2-0) – The Wildcats won 10 games last season, and are 20 percent of the way to equaling that total thanks to a pair of close wins. Oxford edged Rochester 35-34 on opening night, then Farmington Hills Harrison 30-27.

9. Leroy Pine River (1-1) – The Bucks rebounded from an opening-night loss to Reed City to double up the reigning Class C champion, Morley-Stanwood, 57-25.

10. Shepherd (2-0) – The Bluejays opened with wins against both teams that call Mount Pleasant home. They beat Class D Sacred Heart 46-37 and Class A Mount Pleasant High 36-23. 

PHOTO: Fowler defeated Ithaca 51-37 on Tuesday. The Eagles are among teams that have begun 2-0 this season. (Click to see more at

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.