Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 10

February 10, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The MHSAA girls basketball postseason begins in four weeks – still enough time for teams to gain some momentum heading into tournament play.

For those in need of a boost, the playoffs have already begun – and we’re picking up on a few beginning to emerge, including some listed below among teams that impressed most last week.


Bloomfield Hills Marian (14-1) – The reigning Class A champion is a favorite again and last week claimed its second win this season against Catholic League Central rival Farmington Hills Mercy, also last season’s MHSAA Semifinal opponent. Marian’s only loss this winter is to Chicago Whitney Young, by four.

Brighton (11-3) – The Bulldogs are only tied for first in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West as they seek their fourth straight league title. But part of a five-game winning streak is a 38-27 victory over co-leader Hartland, and they meet again Friday in the league finale.

East Lansing (9-6) – The Trojans are continuing their climb back from a rare down season last winter. After winning six games in all of 2013-14, East Lansing is riding a 6-2 run and sits in second in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue, with a rematch against league leader Grand Ledge set for Feb. 24.

Grand Rapids Christian (13-3) – The Eagles are a perfect 6-0 in the Ottawa-Kent Conference White after sharing the league title last year with Forest Hills Central. Grand Rapids Christian built on a seven-game winning streak last week and finishes with four more conference games.


Dearborn Divine Child (10-5) – The Falcons get lost a little bit behind Marian and Mercy in the super-strong Catholic League Central, but have won three straight and finished tied for second in the league standings.

Dearborn Heights Robichaud (13-1) – The Bulldogs have made a big turnaround from last season’s sub-.500 finish – they have claimed a share of the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Blue championship, with their lone loss in December to Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.

Flat Rock (14-3) – The Rams have won 44 straight Huron League games and already clinched a share of a third straight league title with three more league games to play. All three losses came in December to teams with a combined 34-10 record.

Olivet (11-4) – The Eagles are chasing Perry in the first-year Greater Lansing Activities Conference, but have won seven of their last nine games. Olivet faces Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph East leader Bronson on Friday before getting a rematch against Perry next week.


Homer (11-3) – The Trojans eclipsed last season’s win total with Thursday’s over Athens and have won eight of their last nine games – with the lone loss to Big 8 Conference leader Concord. Homer gets second-place Reading tonight and Concord again on Feb. 20.

Iron Mountain (7-7) – The Mountaineers' overall record is middling, but they're climbing in the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference and handed league leader Ishpeming its first loss, 34-32, on Feb. 2. The victory ended a three-game skid and was followed by another victory Thursday over Manistique.

Marlette (12-3) – The Red Raiders would love some help with Sandusky, which leads Marlette by a win in the Greater Thumb Conference East. But Marlette has won seven of eight – the lone loss being to Sandusky – and the league title should come down to their rematch Feb. 19.

Traverse City St. Francis (13-1) – The Gladiators did suffer their first loss last week, to one-loss Class B Manistee. But St. Francis does lead the Lake Michigan Conference with a big early-January win over second-place Kalkaska, and kicked off last week by beating Traverse City Central 46-38.


Cedarville (11-3) – The Trojans are on a 9-1 run after opening 2-2; they lead the Straits Area Conference by half a win over reigning champion Brimley and already have split with the Bays this season. Last week’s pair of wins were by a combined four points.

Fruitport Calvary Christian (12-2) – The Eagles have clinched their third straight league title, finishing undefeated in the Alliance League North and with their only losses to Class B Kentwood Grand River Prep and Class C Holton. All but one win has come by at least 12 points.

Portland St. Patrick (12-3) – The Shamrocks didn’t make it out of their District last season but appear to be ramping up for another postseason run with their only losses to Class C teams with a combined record of 39-8. St. Patrick beat Fowler 47-41 last week to sweep the Eagles this season after ending 2013-14 with a loss to them.

St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran (9-1) – The Titans also are again looking like a tough playoff opponent with their only defeat this season to one-loss Frankfort in December. Michigan Lutheran is in second place in the Red Arrow Conference, just behind rival Lake Michigan Catholic.

PHOTO: Detroit Cass Tech improved to 14-3 with a 47-41 win over Detroit Mumford in Monday’s Detroit Public School League semifinal. The Technicians will face Detroit Martin Luther King in the championship game Feb. 20. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Public School League.)

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.