Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 8

January 23, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

A total of 15 girls basketball teams remain undefeated through what was the midpoint of this season for most across Michigan last week.

But four teams also lost for the first time as league standings began to take shape and contenders began the juggling that will continue over the next month.

Check out the “Rankings” tab above for a list of those with the best records across all four classes, to be updated every Monday during the rest of this winter. Meanwhile, here’s a look at some of what stuck out most for this Breslin Bound report, powered by MI Student Aid.

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:

1. Saginaw Heritage 50, Midland Dow 47 (OT) – The undefeated Hawks have the upper hand again in the Saginaw Valley League North after Midland took a share of the league title last season by winning their second meeting; the rematch this time is Feb. 10.

2. Sandusky 54, Harbor Beach 35 – The Redskins remained undefeated and took a one-win lead in the Greater Thumb Conference East standings in handing Harbor Beach its first loss in the league and overall.

3. Ithaca 58, Frankenmuth 40 – This is a great sign for Ithaca’s move from Class C to B this season; the Yellowjackets improved to 8-1 while handing the Eagles only their second loss.

4. Farmington Hills Mercy 33, Bloomfield Hills Marian 30 – Mercy added this win to a one-point victory over its Detroit Catholic League Central rival Dec. 9 and cemented itself as the Class A team to watch from that always-strong league.

5. Muskegon Reeths-Puffer 57, Muskegon Mona Shores 48 – Mona Shores could still be a contender in Class A and definitely was the favorite in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Black this winter, but Reeths-Puffer has to be as much a part of both conversations after this win.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:


Hudsonville (11-1) – A Class A semifinalist last season, Hudsonville opened the O-K Red schedule with a loss to now-.500 Rockford. But the Eagles are back in the title mix with four straight league wins including an impressive 53-43 victory last week over Caledonia.

Utica Ford (10-1) – The Falcons have found a home after finishing 10-13 overall and last in the Macomb Area Conference Red a year ago. Ford’s loss came on opening night to Romeo, by just four, and it leads the MAC White.


Comstock (9-1) – After finishing fourth in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Red last season, Comstock has nearly equaled its 13 overall wins and last week ended Niles Brandywine’s 83-game home winning streak. Next up is undefeated league leader Buchanan.

Houghton (11-0) – After surging at the end of last season to finish 16-7 and win a District title, Houghton has kept it rolling and last week downed rival Calumet 56-40 and being swept by the Copper Kings in 2015-16. All but one win this season have been by 15 or more points.


Jonesville (9-2) – After opening with a pair of losses to Michigan Center and Springport (which are both 9-1) by a combined five points, Jonesville is surging and trails first-place Springport by just a win in the Big 8 Conference. Last week included a 42-40 overtime edging of Adrian Madison, which also is 9-2.

Burton Bendle (10-1) – The Tigers improved from six to 12 to 16 wins over the last three seasons, respectively, and have their sights set on a Genesee Area Conference White title after avenging its only loss this season, to New Lothrop, with a 39-29 win Friday.


Gaylord St. Mary (9-1) – The Snowbirds also opened with a loss, to Class B Clare, but look more like the team that made the Quarterfinals last season and missed advancing farther by just a point. They took over the Ski Valley Conference lead alone last week with a 15-point win over Bellaire.

Hillman (9-1) – The Tigers have rattled off nine straight wins since falling by three to Cedarville on opening night. A 58-37 defeat of Rogers City not only handed their rival its second loss this winter, but put Hillman in first alone in the North Star League Big Dipper as it looks to repeat as champion.

Can't-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:  

Monday – Freeland (10-0) at Ithaca (8-1) – This Tri-Valley Conference crossover features the leaders of the Central and West, respectively, and two that could meet again in the Class B postseason.

Monday – Comstock (9-1) at Buchanan (9-0) – This is the first of two matchups between the leaders of the BCS Red over the next two weeks; see more on Comstock above.

Tuesday – East Kentwood (10-1) at Hudsonville (11-1) – The Eagles, also discussed above, took only one loss in the O-K Red last season … from East Kentwood, the current league leader.

Tuesday – Manchester (7-3) at Pittsford (12-0) – The reigning Class D champion Wildcats have won 39 straight and will get arguably their toughest test of the regular season in this matchup against the Class C Flying Dutchmen.

Saturday – Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (12-0) at Ann Arbor Huron (8-3) – Arbor Prep, after winning Class C last season, is a favorite in Class B this time and gets one of its two biggest tests so far against Class A Huron. 

PHOTO: Houghton's Morgan Colling looks for an open teammate as Baraga's Justice Kinnunen (20) helps trap her near the baseline during their game earlier this season. (Photo by Paul Gerard.)

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 keithdu[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.