Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Post-Break

January 7, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The new year brings with it endless possibilities – and that extends to this Michigan high school girls basketball season.

Sure, there are some teams looking absolutely unbeatable right now – see Detroit Edison below for a closer look at arguably the best. But we have more than two months to find out and figure out a lot more as we shift over these next few weeks to league play for most and the start of the midseason grind for all of this season’s hopefuls.

Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at To offer corrections or fill in scores we’re missing, email me at [email protected].

Week in Review

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

1. Carlton Airport 48, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 42 – The Jets bounced back from a close loss to reigning Class D champ Adrian Lenawee Christian with an impressive win over last season’s Class C runner-up.

2. Michigan Center 95, Williamston 90 (5 OT) – Two championship contenders combined to tie for the longest game in MHSAA history and second-highest scoring.

3. Comstock 49, Kent City 44 – Standout Daisy Ansel scored 27 points to help undefeated Comstock hand Kent City a second close loss this winter, this one at Grand Valley State University.

4. St. Ignace 63, Reese 59 (OT) – The unbeaten Saints needed extra time at the Motor City Roundball Classic to hand Reese its only loss, then two days later did the same to Detroit Mumford 55-53.  

5. Eaton Rapids 44, Jackson Northwest 41 – The Greyhounds remain a game below .500, but can claim the only defeat this season of the reigning Class B runner-up Mounties.

Watch List

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


• Grosse Pointe North (5-1) – A Class A semifinalist last season, Grosse Pointe North is the likely favorite in a Macomb Area Conference Red that is always among the state’s strongest leagues and this winter is made up of six teams that are all at least 5-2 to this point. Michigan State signee Julia Ayrault leads a group which has lost only to undefeated Bloomfield Hills Marian.

• Royal Oak (7-0) – The Ravens are building well on last season’s 19-3 run and shared Oakland Activities Association White title. Royal Oak is playing in the Red this winter and hoping to unseat reigning co-champions Clarkston and Southfield Arts & Technology. The Ravens already have avenged last season’s loss to the Wolves.


• Grand Rapids West Catholic (6-1) – The Falcons are unbeaten since falling to Traverse City West by five on opening night, and only one win away from matching last season’s 7-14 success. Among the most impressive wins is a 53-41 defeat of 2018 Class D semifinalist Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart at the Muskegon Holiday Classic, which remains the Irish’s only loss.

• Detroit Edison (9-1) – The reigning Class C champion opted up to Division 2 with its star power back from last season, and is one of two programs statewide (girls or boys) fielding two varsities. The “A” team – led by Mississippi State signee Rickea Jackson – has wins over reigning Class B champion Detroit Country Day and 2018 Class A semifinalist Wayne Memorial, with its only loss to also-nationally renowned Columbus Africentric (Ohio).


• Schoolcraft (6-0) – The Eagles have won all of their games by at least 11 points, including in handing Delton Kellogg its only defeat. Those two are among the top three in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley standings as Schoolcraft looks to build off last season’s title and run to the Class C Quarterfinals.  

• Stockbridge (5-1) – The Panthers are early leaders in the Greater Lansing Activities Conference, a near-complete turnaround after winning five games total a year ago. The only defeat this winter came to Eaton Rapids (see above), and they entered break with a 10-point win over frequent league contender Olivet.


• Rogers City (5-1) – We highlighted Onaway earlier this season, so we’ll waste no time recognizing Rogers City coming off Friday’s 46-40 overtime win over the Cardinals. The Hurons’ only loss was by two to Division 2 Tawas in the season opener, and they also have a win over Hillman after finishing second to the Tigers in the North Star League Big Dipper last season.

• Ontonagon (6-0) – The Gladiators have a jump on surpassing last season’s 12-11 finish and should make another run at first in the Porcupine Mountain division of the Copper Mountain Conference after finishing second a year ago. A 48-40 win over reigning Class D runner-up Chassell on Dec. 18 avenged last season’s 15-point District Final loss.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Southfield Arts & Technology (6-1) at Detroit Country Day (4-3) – The Warriors’ only loss was by two to reigning Class A champ Saginaw Heritage, and they can make a statement with a victory over last season’s Class B winner.

Tuesday – Utica Eisenhower (6-0) at Grosse Pointe North (5-1) – They played in different leagues last season and combined for 39 wins. Now they’re together in the previously-mentioned MAC Red.

Wednesday – Flint Carman-Ainsworth (7-2) at Saginaw Heritage (6-0) – These are the early leaders in the respective Saginaw Valley League divisions after Heritage came in first and Carman-Ainsworth second in a combined league a year ago. They also went on to meet in the Regional Final.

Friday – Detroit Edison (9-1) at Muskegon (3-2) – The Big Reds will be up to the challenge; their losses this winter were by a combined four points to Division 1 contenders East Kentwood and East Lansing.

Friday – East Lansing (6-0) at Grand Ledge (5-1) – The reigning Class A runner-up Trojans beat rival Grand Ledge three times last season, but by only two points in the first meeting.

Second Half’s weekly “Countdown to Calvin” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau 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, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Grand Ledge, here playing Lansing Waverly in December, will attempt to hand rival East Lansing its first defeat of the season this week. (Click to see 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.