Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 9

February 3, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

It’s rematch time for MHSAA girls basketball teams.

Fewer than four weeks remain until the start of District play March 2. From this point on, most teams will be seeing league opponents for the second time – and often with much on the line.

See below for teams that impressed last week, many doing so in rematches or with key ones coming up.


Midland Dow (10-2) – The Chargers took a half-game lead in the Saginaw Valley Association North by beating previous leader Saginaw Heritage 45-39 on Friday. Dow had fallen to Heritage 49-39 on Dec. 16 and now can keep an eye out for third-place Midland, which it will host Feb. 13.

Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (11-3) – Friday’s loss to Grand Rapids Union aside, this has been a nice run for the Ottawa-Kent Conference Black co-leader. The Rockets finished third last season but led the league this winter until falling to third-place Union by a point, 46-45. Reeths-Puffer takes on co-leader Mona Shores on Friday.

Southfield-Lathrup (11-1) – These Chargers are undefeated in Michigan with their only loss coming by a bucket to Toledo Rogers on Dec. 13. Southfield-Lathrup has beaten a solid group of opponents including last week Oakland Activities Association Red second-place Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, which is 10-3. The Chargers get another second-place OAA Red team this Thursday in 11-3 North Farmington.

Wyoming (11-2) – The Wolves sit atop the O-K Bronze standings at 5-0 through the first half of the league schedule. They haven’t lost a league game since Jan. 8, 2013, but face second-place Grand Rapids Northview on Friday in their second matchup of this season.


Croswell-Lexington (11-2) – The Pioneers have won eight straight since falling to Port Huron Northern in the semifinals of the Marysville Invitational and are tied with Armada for first place in the Blue Water Area Conference. The only league loss came to Capac, and Croswell-Lexington avenged it with a 33-29 overtime win last week.

Houghton (12-2) – It’s shaping up as another special season for the Gremlins, who split last season’s West Peninsula Athletic Conference title but lead second-place Calumet after beating the Copper Kings by three on Jan. 20. Houghton beat last season’s co-champion, L’Anse, 64-31 on Monday after edging 10-win Kingsford in overtime Friday.

Kalkaska (11-1) – The Blazers' only slip-up this winter came Jan. 9 to Traverse City St. Francis, the only team ahead of Kalkaska in the Lake Michigan Conference standings. It’s a nice jump from last season’s 12-win finish – and with the rematch against St. Francis still to play.

Midland Bullock Creek (14-0) – The Central-leading Lancers dominated a tough Tri-Valley Conference crossover week, beating East leader Frankenmuth 57-40 (both of Frankenmuth’s losses are to Bullock Creek) and then handing West leader Ithaca its first loss this season, 63-52.


Laingsburg (13-0) – The Wolfpack edged 10-win Class B Perry 31-28 last week to remain perfect and lead Pewamo-Westphalia by half a win in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference thanks to a 36-33 win over the Pirates in mid-December. Those two meet again Thursday.

Leroy Pine River (8-1) – The Bucks have won seven straight and lead the Highland Conference after finishing second to McBain a year ago. McBain is in second to start this week and hosts Pine River on Thursday.

Ishpeming (11-2) – The Hematites took a tough loss Monday, 34-32 to Iron Mountain. But they remain in first place in the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference with their only other loss to nonleague Gladstone during the season’s second week. Ishpeming had beaten Iron Mountain by 15 in their first meeting.

Niles Brandywine (12-1) – Last week we highlighted Class A Kalamazoo Central, the only team to beat Brandywine this season (and in double overtime). Brandywine continued to cruise last week, finishing with a 62-59 win over Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph West contender Buchanan – Brandywine has dealt the Bucks both of their losses this winter.


Baraga (8-4) – The Vikings have bounced back nicely off last season’s six-win finish. They are tied for first place in the Copper Country Conference despite a tough stretch of three straight losses, including two to league foes, in mid-January.

Gaylord St. Mary (12-3) – The reigning champion in the Ski Valley Conference is chasing from third but has won seven straight and with the teams it trails next up on the schedule – first-place Johannesburg-Lewiston tonight and second-place Bellaire next week.     

St. Ignace (10-5) – The Saints are holding on to slim lead in the Straits Area Conference thanks in part to senior Margo Brown, an MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award winner this week who has a season high of 41 points and recently set the school record with 11 3-pointers in a game.

St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (9-3) – The Lakers are one of few teams in Michigan that play in multiple conferences; they’re in third place behind Class C Brandywine and Class B Buchanan in the BCS West, but are undefeated atop the Red Arrow Conference.

PHOTO: Detroit Pershing opened this season's Public School League Tournament with a victory over Detroit Communication Media Arts last week. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Public School League.) 

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.