Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 2

December 15, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

It’s hard to believe after only two weeks, but there are girls basketball teams in Michigan that have completed 25 percent of their regular-season schedules.

And that’s given us good opportunity to figure out some that we’ll continue to hear from as the winter goes on, including a few listed below. 

Each week, we’re looking at four teams from each class that stuck out over the previous seven days or the season to that point as we point toward the start of the MHSAA District tournaments March 2. For schedules of each day’s games statewide and results as we receive them, plus links to each team’s full schedule, results and league standings, click here – and please help us by filling in missing scores or emailing them to [email protected].  

Class A

Ann Arbor Huron (3-0) – The River Rats are 14-1 since the midpoint of last season with the latest victory 59-34 over 2013-14 Class B semifinalist Flint Powers Catholic.

Lansing Waverly (5-0) – The Warriors' fast start has been keyed by five players scoring at least five points per game and paced by senior Breanna Mobley at 18.2 ppg.  

Lowell (3-0) – The surging Red Arrows avenged two of last season’s 12 losses by beating Ionia 43-27 in their first game and Ada Forest Hills Eastern 48-41 on Tuesday.

Marquette (4-0) – The impressive run past Petoskey and Brighton during the first week continued with a close win over Gladstone and bigger one over Ishpeming Westwood.

Class B

Frankenmuth (3-1) – The Eagles took a tough loss to a strong Midland Bullock Creek team during the season’s first week, but a three-point win over Reese on opening night and two-pointer against Saginaw Nouvel last week provide plenty to anticipate over the next three months.

Gladwin (3-1) – The Flying G’s finished second in the Jack Pine Conference last season with two league losses, both to champion Clare. A 46-44 win over Clare on Thursday was a nice way to come back from a tough loss to Bullock Creek on Monday.

Ludington (4-0) – No team including Class A Grand Haven has come closer than 14 points this season; Ludington beat the Buccaneers 40-26 on Tuesday.

Sparta (4-0) – The Spartans’ excellent play during last season’s Quarterfinal run has continued, with a 42-41 win over East Grand Rapids on Friday keeping the slate perfect so far.

Class C

Britton-Deerfield (2-0) – The Patriots finished second in the Tri-County Conference a year ago and look good to contend again considering a second straight close win over Waterford Our Lady to start the season and a 29-pointer over Morenci last week.

Detroit Edison Public School Academy (3-1) – The Pioneers, winners of 15 games a year ago, are looking like a possibility to take the step from solid to elite after defeating Class A Detroit Pershing, Macomb Dakota and Westland John Glenn so far.

Michigan Center (5-0) – A 54-48 win over Concord last week was a nice way to split up two early Cascade Conference wins for one of three teams tied atop the league standings.

Sandusky (4-0) – Only one opponent has come closer than 20 points as Sandusky has matched half of last season’s opening 8-0 run.

White Pigeon (3-0) – The Chiefs are coming off an 11-10 finish a year ago that included 53-12 and 36-25 losses to Mendon; Friday’s 49-34 win over the Hornets no doubt turned those into more distant memories.

Class D

Engadine (3-0) – The Eagles are nearly halfway to last season’s win total of seven thanks in part to a 46-44 win over Eastern UP Conference foe DeTour on Friday.

Frankfort (4-0) – The Panthers are up to 27 wins in their last 30 games with an average margin of victory of 28.5 points per so far this winter.

Morrice (4-0) – The Orioles’ start included a 27-25 overtime win Tuesday over New Lothrop, which beat Morrice twice during 2013-14.

PHOTO: Frankenmuth defeated Otisville-LakeVille in Tri-Valley Conference East play last week to move to 3-1 this season. (Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth High School.)

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.