Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 6
January 9, 2017
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Generally, our Breslin Bound reports – powered by MI Student Aid – emphasize the week that was across the state in either girls or boys basketball.
But this week, it’s easy to jump to the bottom of this report and prep for what could be one of the season’s most exciting runs, starting with a Monday night rivalry game in the Upper Peninsula and ending with one of a number of great Friday matchups downstate.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week's five most intriguing results:
1. Warren Cousino 53, Port Huron Northern 51 – Reigning Class A champion Cousino opened with arguably the toughest first-half schedule in the state, and with the dust settled has emerged 7-2 and with this key Macomb Area Conference Red win over previously-undefeated Northern.
2. Lansing Waverly 55, DeWitt 47 – The Warriors’ three losses this season came against solid teams, but handing previously-undefeated DeWitt its first defeat could signal Waverly is ready to take a step into elite.
3. St. Ignace 80, Charlevoix 41 – Charlevoix entered as the undefeated team of the two, but both now have one loss as the Saints reasserted themselves as the north’s Class C measuring stick.
4. Norway 44, Ishpeming 42 – These two entered undefeated as well, but finished with Norway alone atop the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference standings.
5. Flint Hamady 43, Flint Beecher 31 – Hamady remained a step ahead of the rival Bucs as both are now in the Genesee Area Conference Red; their only meeting last season was a Hamady win in the District Final.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Battle Creek Lakeview (5-2) – A District champion a year ago, Lakeview has rebounded from a rough opening night against Mason to win five of its last six and its last four. The Spartans tied for second last season in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East, but earned a 70-56 win over reigning champion Kalamazoo Central in their final game before the break.
Caledonia (7-1) – The Fighting Scots are a one-point opening-night loss to Richland Gull Lake from perfection this winter. They should be a contender in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red moving over after winning the O-K White last season.
Ida (7-0) – The Bluestreaks are another District winner from a year ago off to a great start, with six wins by double figures. They are tied for first with Blissfield in the Lenawee County Athletic Association, with the two teams that finished ahead of them last season – Brooklyn Columbia Central and the Royals – coming up this week.
Marine City (7-0) – A strong 16-4 season came to a first-round halt last winter against MAC Gold rival Marysville in the District. But the Mariners are off to a stronger start this winter thanks to Friday’s win over Vikings, who beat Marine City three times total during 2015-16.
Harbor Beach (8-0) – After going 12-9 with a first-round District exit last season, the Pirates have simply dominated winning all of their games by double figures and all but two by at least 25 points. The second victory this season was by 30 over Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker, which ended Harbor Beach’s 2015-16 season.
Sandusky (9-0) – Like Harbor Beach, Sandusky is pacing the Greater Thumb Conference East. The Redskins finished second last year but already have avenged two losses to reigning league champion Marlette, and get the chance Tuesday to avenge their other 2015-16 regular-season defeat, to Reese.
Baraga (5-1) – The Vikings are coming off a 12-10 season but lost seven of their last 10 last winter; they’re looking good to avoid that misstep this time, with four wins so far over teams they fell to during that streak, including last week’s victory over Lake Linden-Hubbell (50-42).
Rogers City (6-0) – The Hurons are halfway to last season’s win total and have avenged their District Final loss to Posen; downing solid Lincoln Alcona by 11 gives them nice footing in the North Star League’s Big Dipper division after tying with Alcona for second a year ago.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Monday – Marquette (8-1) at Kingsford (6-1) – These two finished first and tied for second last season, respectively, in the Great Northern U.P. Conference, which includes the Upper Peninsula’s biggest schools.
Tuesday – Sandusky (9-0) at Reese (7-1) – These very well could be two of the best in the state in Class C and end the season as champions of their respective divisions of the Greater Thumb Conference.
Wednesday – Detroit Country Day (8-0) at Flint Hamady (7-0) – This one hardly needs an explanation; fans of girls basketball are used to seeing both of these teams in March at the Breslin Center.
Thursday – Detroit Martin Luther King (7-1) at Detroit East English (7-1) – East English will see how it measures up with the annual Public School League power in a matchup for first place in the East Division 1.
Friday – East Kentwood (7-1) at Caledonia (7-1) – See above for more on Caledonia; these two could be the best of an outstanding O-K Red this winter and have the best overall records so far.
PHOTO: Sandusky charges ahead during a 63-16 win over Deckerville on Dec. 28. (Photo by Varsity Monthly.)
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.