Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 8

January 27, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Just more than a month remains in the MHSAA girls basketball regular season.

After a brief midseason break, Breslin Bound is back with a look at four teams in each class to pay attention to after they served notice again over the last week.

Class A

Allen Park (9-2) – The Jaguars have raced to the top of the Downriver League at 6-0 in-conference heading into tonight’s matchup with second-place Brownstown Woodhaven to finish the first half of the league season. Allen Park finished third in the league in 2013-14.

Grand Ledge (9-2) – The Capital Area Activities Conference Blue leader graduated its two top scorers after making last season’s Class A Semifinals and took a bad loss to DeWitt during this season’s first week. But the Comets have won five straight and are 7-0 in league play after the first run through the schedule.

Kalamazoo Central (10-1) – The Maroon Giants took their first loss Saturday, 71-57 to Chicago Simeon, but remain undefeated in Michigan and atop the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East standings. Central opened last week by handing Class C Niles Brandywine its first loss, 68-65 in overtime.

Traverse City West (9-2) – The Titans' only losses came to Marquette and Midland Dow in their hometown over holiday break. They’ve won six straight to start 2015, handing Manistee its lone loss and Gaylord its only loss in league play to move to the top of the Big North Conference after finishing third a year ago.

Class B

Clare (9-3) – The Pioneers are playing from a slight deficit over the second half of the Jack Pine Conference season after losing to first and second-place Beaverton and Gladwin, respectively, by a combined three points. But they beat Central State Activities Association Gold leader Big Rapids 40-36 on Monday.

Marshall (10-1) – The Redhawks own a half-win lead on Jackson Northwest in the first-year Interstate 8 Athletic Conference, having beaten the Mounties by 11 on Jan. 16. Marshall’s only loss came to Williamston during the first week.

Perry (9-2) – The Ramblers also are surging in a first-year league, the Greater Lansing Activities Conference, going 7-0 in league play so far to move a win ahead of Olivet. Perry finished runner-up to powerhouse Goodrich last season in the Genesee Area Conference Red.

Plainwell (12-0) – The Trojans have won 18 games each of the last two seasons, but appear poised for more with a one-win lead on Otsego in the Wolverine Conference East and a defensive effort that hasn’t given up more than 35 points since Jan. 6.

Class C

Flint Hamady (9-0) – The Hawks haven’t lost a GAC Blue game in nearly two calendar years and show no sign of breaking that streak, although second-place Morrice hosts Hamady tonight. The Hawks have won all of their games by double digits, including against nonleague local rivals Flint Southwestern and Flint Northwestern.

Gobles (10-0) – Last season’s Class C semifinalist hasn’t lost a step as it has cruised back to the top of the Southwestern Athletic Conference North. The Tigers have scored more than 60 points eight times and hit 70 once; they’ve held all but one opponent to 24 or fewer points.  

Kent City (11-2) – The Eagles took over first place alone in the CSAA Silver with a 58-46 win over second-place Morley Stanwood on Friday and are 7-0 in 2015. The lone losses came to Class A DeWitt during holiday break and Class B Coopersville in early December.

Saginaw Nouvel (8-3) – The Panthers’ schedule is packed with much larger opponents, with Mid-State Activities Conference leader Carson City-Crystal last week one of the few also from Class C. Nouvel beat the Eagles 48-41 and travel to reigning Class D champion Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart tonight.

Class D

Bay City All Saints (8-3) – The Michigan Summit League leader has rebounded from a 1-3 start and hasn’t lost since Dec. 11. The Cougars held on to the top spot with a 34-23 win over second-place Saginaw Arts & Sciences two weeks ago and have doubled last season’s win total of four.

Kingston (11-2) – The Cardinals sitting atop league standings is nothing new, and they’re leading the North Central Thumb League by two wins over Deckerville after beating the Eagles 44-30 on Friday. Among conference opponents, only Deckerville, in their first meeting on Dec. 9, has come within single digits of knocking Kingston from its perch.

Morrice (11-1) – Regardless of what happens against Hamady tonight, Morrice can continue to boast as a strong Class D team in a league filled mostly with Class C. The Orioles did lose to co-second-place New Lothrop by three points two weeks ago, but also beat New Lothrop by a bucket in overtime on Dec. 9.

Pittsford (12-0) – The Wildcats are the last in Class D without a loss and handed the second this season to Cascade Conference co-leader and Class C Manchester, 47-39, on Monday. That was only the second game Pittsford has won by fewer than 26 points – the other close win came against Pioneer North Central of Ohio. 

PHOTO: Saginaw Nouvel earned a key win against another Class C team, Carson City-Crystal, and sits 8-3 with five weeks until the start of the MHSAA tournament. (Click for more from 

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.