Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 3
December 17, 2012
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
As a general rule, basketball teams evolve plenty between the first games of December through the final regular-season contests in February.
But these pre-break matchups matter just as much in the win-loss columns. And a number of games are being played right now that will surely make a difference as this season draws to a close.
This week's report includes some of the teams that have came out on the winning ends of key December battles. (Results and records based on those reported to Score Center at MHSAA.com)
1. Inkster (4-0) – The Vikings are a regular at Breslin Center and made the Class A Semifinals last season, so another great start is hardly surprising. But it's proof why Inkster remains a force – last week’s wins were 51-45 over improved Detroit Mumford and 57-51 over always-powerful Detroit Pershing.
2. Waterford Our Lady (3-1) – The reigning Class D champion has bounced back quickly from an opening-night loss to West Bloomfield. Last week, Our Lady beat Livonia Ladywood 50-38 and Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart by the same score.
3. Detroit Martin Luther King (3-0) – This is another team always in the Class A mix, and it got a big win Saturday – 56-48 over returning Class A Semifinalist Ann Arbor Huron, which earlier in the week had defeated Detroit Country Day 65-58. King also beat Detroit East English 61-7.
4. Johannesburg-Lewiston (5-0) – The Cardinals lost only two regular-season games last season, both times to Ski Valley Conference rival Gaylord St. Mary. But they got a little bit of revenge last week with a 50-48 win over St. Mary after also beating East Jordan 57-43.
5. Holt (5-0) – The Rams are again setting up nicely to contend in the strong Capital Area Activities Conference Blue. They beat nonleague foe St. Johns 52-48 and then Lansing Everett 48-39 to keep early pace with other frontrunners Grand Ledge and East Lansing.
6. Napoleon (5-1) – Napoleon’s 15-7 finish in 2011-12 included splits against Michigan Center and Grass Lake. The Pirates got an early upper hand on both last week, beating Michigan Center 49-45 and Grass Lake 47-42.
7. Traverse City St. Francis (4-1) – The Gladiators opened last season 14-1, with that lone loss to Cadillac – which they beat last week 55-50. St. Francis also defeated Kalkaska 44-36 on Friday.
8. Pewamo-Westphalia (3-2) – The Pirates got off to a rough start with opening-week losses to Class B Williamston and Lakewood. But back in familiar territory in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference, they've won three straight – including 51-42 last week over returning Class D Semifinalist Portland St. Patrick.
9. North Farmington (3-1) – The Raiders are coming off a 10-12 season that included a pair of losses to Pontiac. But North Farmington earned the early edge this time with a 59-58 win over Pontiac, followed by a 58-48 win over West Bloomfield.
10. Powers North Central (5-1) – After opening with a 13-point loss to returning Class D Semifinalist Crystal Falls Forest Park, North Central hasn't fallen again. The Jets beat Stephenson 62-51 and Munising 50-22 to get nearly halfway to last season’s win total of 11.
PHOTO: Big Rapids Crossroads (in red) defeated Baldwin on Thursday to move to 4-0 this season. (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.