Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 12
February 19, 2018
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
We’re filled with anticipation as we begin the final week of this girls basketball regular season.
Most league titles have been determined – although some excellent deciding matchups do still remain. What’s more, every team has had three months to figure out what it does best – and we’re on the eve of seeing them make a final dash with everything on the line.
Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school on our site. To offer corrections or help us fill in missing scores, email me at [email protected].
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Saginaw Heritage 59, Detroit Country Day 49 – Heritage is one of three undefeated teams left in Class A and reinforced it’s a serious contender by downing the reigning champ in Class B.
2. Marysville 53, St. Clair Shores Lakeview 44 – Although Lakeview lost its leading scorer to an injury two minutes in, Marysville handing the Huskies their first loss in this Macomb Area Conference Blue/Gold championship game remains significant.
3. Detroit Mumford 60, Detroit Renaissance 58 – Mumford downed Renaissance earlier this season to clinch first in their division of the Detroit Public School League, and this classic rematch gave the Mustangs the overall league tournament title.
4. Jackson Northwest 47, Coldwater 37 (OT) – The Interstate 8 Athletic Conference title very well may have been decided during overtime between these teams that are a combined 33-3 overall this winter.
5. Detroit Edison 88, St. Ignace 56 – In what looked like a possible matchup of the best in Class C, reigning champion Edison showed it’s still the team to beat (and with only a loss to Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, which beat Country Day this week).
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Bloomfield Hills Marian (14-3) – Despite being swept by Dearborn Divine Child during the league season, Marian shared the Detroit Catholic League Central championship with Farmington Hills Mercy – and then finished off a run to the A-B tournament title with a 49-30 win over the Falcons on Sunday. The only other loss this season was by a point to Royal Oak (15-2).
DeWitt (17-1) – After falling to still-undefeated rival East Lansing by a point Dec. 5, the Panthers have quietly run off 15 straight wins and claimed the Capital Area Activities Conference Red championship. DeWitt and East Lansing could see each other again in a District Final at Owosso. Both games last season, including the Trojans’ District Final win, were decided by a point as well.
Freeland (16-2) – The Falcons have clinched another Tri-Valley Conference Central title, running their league winning streak to 40 straight games with Friday’s victory over Shepherd. Freeland also posted double-digit crossover wins against Birch Run and Hemlock teams that are a combined 29-5, with the only defeats to Class A powers Saginaw Heritage (17-0) and Bay City Western (14-3).
Hamilton (17-1) – The Hawkeyes followed up last year’s run to the Regional Finals by opening this winter with a four-point loss to Class A Jenison (14-4). Hamilton hasn’t lost again, claiming a share of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green title with its 40-27 win over now-third place Zeeland East on Friday. The Hawkeyes also own a win against Comstock Park, the leader in the O-K Blue.
Centreville (18-1) – The Bulldogs have won 26 straight league games including their first 16 in the first year of the Southwest 10 Conference. The defeat came in overtime Dec. 1 against former league rival Bronson. The Bulldogs will be tested immediately in the District though, with Homer (16-2) first up next week.
New Lothrop (16-1) – Since falling to reigning Class C runner-up Pewamo-Westphalia in its opener, New Lothrop is undefeated and finished 10-0 in the Genesee Area Conference White. The Hornets also have a nice win over Birch Run and beat GAC Blue co-leader Byron by nine last week. The league title was the second straight after New Lothrop shared with Burton Bendle last season.
Fruitport Calvary Christian (16-3) – The Eagles got off to a middling start at 0-2 and then 4-3, but have won 12 straight and finished a perfect run through the Alliance League. Next they’ll go for a fifth straight District title and hope for more; two of the three losses came to Class C teams, and Muskegon Western Michigan Christian (16-2) also went on to win a league title.
Hillman (18-1) – The Tigers ran their North Star League winning streak to 46 straight in claiming the Big Dipper championship outright with a 51-38 victory over second-place Rogers City on Thursday. The lone defeat came against another small school power in Cedarville (13-3), by three on opening night – but Hillman does need to be cautious facing Rogers City (13-4) again in its first District game Feb. 28.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Detroit Edison (15-1) at Saginaw Heritage (17-0) – Fresh off a win over the reigning Class B champion, Heritage will try to add another against last season’s Class C title winner.
Tuesday – Kingsley (19-0) at Maple City Glen Lake (17-1) – Glen Lake will try to avenge an earlier 16-point loss and share the Northwest Conference title.
Wednesday – St. Clair Shores Lakeview (18-1) at Utica Eisenhower (17-2) – A pair of MAC divisional champs get one last tune-up before the start of Districts.
Thursday – Sandusky (16-3) at Marlette (14-4) – The Greater Thumb Conference East title comes down to this meeting between co-leaders, and Marlette won the first by 17.
Thursday – Charlevoix (14-3) at Traverse City St. Francis (14-3) – These two are tied for first in the Lake Michigan Conference, and Charlevoix won their first meeting by two.
PHOTO: Saginaw Heritage held on to its perfect record with a big win last week over Bay City Western. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
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.