Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 9
February 3, 2020
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
We’re closing in quickly on that time of year when months of work will play out in girls basketball league championships and this winter – for the first time – seeding of the top two teams at the District level.
Much could be determined in league races this week – check out our “Can’t-Miss Contests” below, which include a sixth game because five just wasn’t enough to note all of the high-profile conference clashes that deserve mention.
We’re also less than two weeks from undertaking the seeding process in basketball for the first time – and need your help. The teams receiving those top-two spots in District brackets – for girls and boys – will do so based on success and strength of schedule, and it’s imperative for MHSAA.com to list all games played and correct scores for each. Know a score we don’t or realize a game is missing that should be added? Send corrections or missing scores to [email protected]. Every result affects multiples of others, and we thank you for your help in advance.
“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on those results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Detroit Cass Tech 68, Detroit Martin Luther King 43 – The Technicians clinched the Detroit Public School League East title outright by handing rival King its first loss.
2. Bloomfield Hills Marian 36, Farmington Hills Mercy 29 – The Mustangs moved into a first-place tie in the Detroit Catholic League Central by handing rival Mercy its first loss and after falling to the Marlins 46-34 on Jan. 7.
3. Midland Dow 52, Midland 33 – The Chargers avenged a 38-31 loss from Dec. 19 in a big way, handing the rival Chemics their first defeat.
4. Southfield Arts & Technology 59, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 47 – The Warriors’ tough schedule is paying off as they’ve won five of their last six games and handed Carman-Ainsworth its first loss.
5. Detroit Edison 54, Detroit Renaissance 52 – Edison moved to 12-0, but the Phoenix gave the Pioneers their closest in-state game in nearly two calendar years.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Battle Creek Lakeview (9-4) After winning 12 games both of the last two seasons, the Spartans are on pace to surpass that total by the end of the regular season. They also enjoy a slight lead in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East after avenging their opening-night loss to Battle Creek Central (10-3) with a 35-33 win Friday. Lakeview’s only two losses since an 0-2 start are to teams with double-digit wins, Portage Central (10-2) and Battle Creek Harper Creek (11-2).
Detroit Cass Tech (12-1) As noted above, Cass Tech is a league champion again after sharing the PSL Midtown title with King last season. LaTonya Tate, a star on Cass Tech’s 1987 Class A championship team, has built the program into a contender again. Its only loss was to Davison on Dec. 29 at the Motor City Roundball Classic, and Cass Tech also picked up a strong 46-40 win over Southfield A&T on Jan. 25
Cadillac (12-0) A 42-40 win a week ago over McBain provided one of the few scares of the season for the Big North Conference-leading Vikings. They’ve run their league winning streak to 16 after closing last winter in the Division 2 Quarterfinals – pretty impressive only a season and a half removed from a 3-18 finish in 2017-18. Cadillac can clinch the league title – at least a share, or outright – Friday against Traverse City West.
Ludington (11-1) Since falling big to Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (12-2) in its season opener, Ludington is unbeaten and nearly unchallenged with only two of those wins by single digits and those two games both against Division 1 schools. The Orioles hold a one-game lead on Muskegon Western Michigan Christian in the Lakes 8 Athletic Conference standings after sharing the title with the Warriors a year ago.
Pewamo-Westphalia (10-2) The reigning Division 3 champion had high expectations for this season and rightly so, bringing back most of its firepower from a year ago. The Pirates have celebrated two seniors scoring their 1,000th career points this winter and an early win over Southfield A&T. The losses were pretty strong too – to Grass Lake (12-1) and Division 1 East Lansing (12-1). P-W could meet Grass Lake again in a Semifinal at Breslin.
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (12-4) After falling to P-W in overtime in a Division 3 Semifinal last season, the Gators are sticking to a winning gameplan. They’ve played 12 of 16 games against teams with winning records and seven games against teams with double-digit wins. They beat two of those 10-win teams over the last two weeks – Royal Oak Shrine Catholic and Jackson Northwest – and their three in-state losses were to Division 1 Ann Arbor Huron (12-2) and Brighton (11-1) and Division 2 Harper Woods Chandler Park (7-6).
Camden-Frontier (13-1) Even with just one loss, Camden-Frontier probably was considered just a notch below undefeated Pittsford heading into last week’s matchup – plus Pittsford had beaten C-F at least 17 times in a row (which is as far back as MHSAA.com data goes). But the Redskins came away with a 54-34 win and moved into a first-place tie with the Wildcats in the Southern Central Athletic Association East. They meet again Feb. 17.
Deckerville (10-3) The Eagles entered one of the biggest small-school games in the state last week battling history as well as an unbeaten opponent – and owned the night. Deckerville avenged a 41-28 loss to Kingston from Dec. 16, handing the Cardinals their first loss this season and first league loss since 2013-14. The win also put Deckerville into a first-place tie with Kingston in the North Central Thumb League Stars.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Macomb Dakota (13-1) at Grosse Pointe South (10-3) – Dakota leads the Macomb Area Conference Red with two more wins than South, but South handed Dakota its only loss, 49-46, on Jan. 17.
Tuesday – Michigan Center (10-3) at Grass Lake (12-1) – Grass Lake won the first meeting 51-46 on Dec. 18 and can edge closer toward the Cascades Conference title with a regular-season sweep.
Thursday – Brooklyn Columbia Central (12-1) at Ida (12-2) – This could nearly decide the Lenawee County Athletic Association title as BCC looks to hold off Ida for the second straight season and won the first matchup 44-36 on Jan. 7.
Thursday – St. Ignace (10-1) at Sault Ste. Marie (11-1) – The Blue Devils are hoping to take back a share of first place in the Straits Area Conference after losing it to the Saints in a 40-37 nail-biter Dec. 20.
Friday – DeWitt (11-2) at East Lansing (12-1) – The Trojans lead the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue by a game over DeWitt thanks to a 62-38 win over the Panthers on Dec. 20.
Friday – Fremont (9-4) at Big Rapids (12-1) – Fremont’s 39-33 win in the first meeting Dec. 20 was Big Rapids’ only loss, and remains the reason Big Rapids trails only Fremont in the Central State Activities Association Gold.
Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO: Deckerville handed Kingston its first loss of the season last week, and first league loss since 2013-14. (Photo by Jackie Salowitz.)
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.