Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 10
February 12, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Girls Basketball Districts begin in three weeks, and contenders are making a few final statements as they finish up league play, compete for league tournament titles and tune up with a little more high-caliber prep before the most urgent time of the season begins.
We take a glance again this week at a number of top matchups from the last few days and preview the next few on the way– but also offer a look at some great stories from programs that might not be in the statewide spotlight.
Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com. 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. Southfield Arts & Technology 60, Royal Oak 47 – Both teams are now 14-1, and Southfield Arts & Technology will carry the Oakland Activities Association Red lead into the Feb. 28 rematch.
2. Detroit Edison 41, Saginaw Heritage 37 – With both teams missing injured standouts, this one lost a little of its luster but still matched up last season’s Class C and A champions, respectively.
3. Hartland 46, Brighton 35 – The Eagles avenged their seven-point Jan. 15 loss, handed Brighton its first defeat of the season and moved into a tie for first with the Bulldogs in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West.
4. Harper Woods Chandler Park 66, Grosse Pointe North 55 – Chandler Park could be one of few that can challenge Edison in Division 2, and this win over a Division 1 contender proves it.
5. St. Ignace 68, Kingsley 37 – The Saints are one of a few obvious teams to beat in Division 4, with this win over two-loss Division 2 Kingsley more evidence.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
• Detroit Mumford (13-3) – The Mustangs shared the Detroit Public School League West-Town title with Renaissance, and then defeated Renaissance 55-38 on Monday in a PSL Tournament semifinal to advance to Friday’s championship game against Martin Luther King. Mumford is plenty tested with losses to Renaissance, Edison and St. Ignace coming off last season’s Regional Final appearance.
• Midland Dow (13-1) – The Chargers have won 12 straight since falling to Division 3 contender Pewamo-Westphalia on Dec. 8, and a victory Thursday against Bay City Western would clinch Dow’s third league title in four seasons. The big win of course came against rival Saginaw Heritage on Feb. 1, and with a pair of future college guards leading the Chargers could be just getting started.
• Charlotte (12-3) – A win Friday at winless Lansing Sexton would pull the Orioles a step closer to possibly earning at least a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference White title, quite a jump after four straight sub-.500 seasons. Charlotte’s best win was the only loss this winter for league foe Portland, and those two will meet again Feb. 22 potentially tied for first. Both have a loss in league play.
• Muskegon Oakridge (13-2) – Rival Whitehall deservedly earned big headlines by ending Oakridge’s West Michigan Conference 82-game winning streak in triple overtime Jan. 8. But Oakridge took the rematch 42-29 on Friday to take over a slim lead in the league race. The Eagles will meet Whitehall again in their District opener March 4.
• Centreville (13-0) – The Bulldogs improved to 14-0 on Monday and extended their lead atop the Southwest 10 Conference that was earned in part by handing Mendon a 37-33 defeat Friday. Centreville is 30-0 in league play since the SW10 was formed two years ago and has had only one other game in single digits this season – in handing Schoolcraft its only loss, 44-42 on Jan. 18.
• Maple City Glen Lake (13-2) – The Lakers quietly have been building on last season’s second straight march to the Class C Semifinals, falling only in a close game early to Ypsilanti Arbor Prep and then in their first meeting this season with Northwest Conference rival Kingsley. Glen Lake won two games by three points apiece last week over Manton and Benzie Central – which are a combined 20-7 – and have to be eying that Kingsley rematch Feb. 22.
• Bellevue (12-0) – With Monday’s 37-36 double-overtime win over rival Athens, Bellevue is 49-8 over the last three seasons and closing in on a third straight league championship. Monday’s win, which put the Broncos at 13-0, was the only game not decided by double digits so far this winter.
• Gaylord St. Mary (11-1) – A loss to Division 3 Traverse City St. Francis on Monday actually sent St. Mary to 11-2. However, the Snowbirds remain atop the Ski Valley Conference by a comfortable margin and hadn’t lost since a season-opening defeat against Division 2 Escanaba.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Thursday – Detroit Edison (13-1) at Bloomfield Hills Marian (15-0) – The Mustangs will get some final prep for the Detroit Catholic League and Division 1 tournaments against the Division 2 favorite.
Friday – Detroit Mumford (14-3) vs. Detroit Martin Luther King (14-1) at Cass Tech – Mumford’s success is discussed above, and King can add a PSL Tournament title to a successful run that has seen only a two-point loss keep it from perfection.
Friday – East Kentwood (11-3) at Rockford (11-3) – The Rams also have to get past Grand Haven on Tuesday, but by the end of this week the top of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red should be clearer.
Friday – Negaunee (12-2) at Ishpeming Westwood (15-1) – The Miners are the only team to defeat Westwood this winter, and the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Iron title will be on the line in the rematch.
Saturday – Detroit Edison (13-1) at Wayne Memorial (14-1) – The Zebras have locked up the KLAA East title and will get a tournament-caliber test as they start looking toward the postseason.
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: Bloomfield Hills Marian is one of 15 undefeated Michigan high school girls basketball teams left with three weeks to play in the regular season. (Photo courtesy of C&G Newspapers.)
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.