Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 1
December 9, 2013
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Just like that, fall is done – and so is the first week of MHSAA girls basketball season.
“Breslin Bound” also is back, giving fans a quick lowdown each week on 10 teams that impressed me over the seven days prior.
What’s below isn’t a statewide ranking by any means – simply a top-10 list of notables that stuck out last week and a little info on each as we start the yearly quest to learn more about the teams we’ll be watching most when our tournament begins during the final week of February.
This week’s list (records/results based on those submitted on MHSAA.com):
1. DeWitt (2-0, Class A): The Panthers are expected to do big things this winter again, but may not have been expected to beat Grand Ledge 62-51; the Comets are considered a Class A championship contender.
2. Marquette (3-0, Class A): The Redettes are building off last season’s fine finish with another quick start that included wins over downstate Brighton and U.P. power St. Ignace at Petoskey’s Invitational.
3. Midland Bullock Creek (2-0, Class B): The Lancers have had an excellent run in girls basketball over the last decade, and it’s looking good to continue after a 10-point win over Saginaw Nouvel and a 12-pointer over Frankenmuth to open 2013-14.
4. Farmington Hills Mercy (2-0, Class A): The Marlins always are in the hunt, but another 2-0 start was noteworthy because it included avenging last season’s loss to Canton.
5. Eaton Rapids (2-0, Class B): The Greyhounds opened by beating potential Class A power Haslett by 13 and followed with a five-point win over solid Corunna.
6. Olivet (2-0, Class B): The Eagles long have been a girls basketball power, but rarely have opened with and beaten a Class A team like Lansing Waverly, which went on to finish the week with a win over frequent contender East Lansing.
7. Frankfort (2-0, Class D): A quick start for the Panthers included a 42-38 likely-to-be-considered upset of solid Class C Traverse City St. Francis.
8. Reese (2-0, Class C): The Rockets restarted after last season’s 23-1 finish with wins over traditionally strong Class B Frankenmuth and Millington.
9. Rock Mid Peninsula (2-0, Class D): The Wolverines won six games in 2012-13, but opened with a 38-point victory over Rapid River and an eight-pointer over Carney-Nadeau.
10. Warren Mott (3-0, Class A): The Marauders are nearly halfway to last season’s eight wins thanks to three quick victories during the first week.
PHOTO: A Saginaw Valley Lutheran player (left) looks to pass around a Freeland defender during the Falcons' win last week. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
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.