Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 7
January 21, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Let the second half of Michigan high school girls basketball season begin. We have plenty to watch for right away.
Pewamo-Westphalia and Detroit Edison kick things off immediately with a huge matchup, and many more are on the way this week – we’ve listed a few of them below. Teams also are reaching the midpoints of their league schedules – with at least a few championships possibly being decided this week.
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. Flint Carman-Ainsworth 65, Detroit Country Day 60 – The Cavaliers bounced back in part from the previous week’s loss to reigning Class A champ Saginaw Heritage with this win over the 2018 Class B title winner.
2. Detroit Cass Tech 55, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 44 – Downing Division 3 contender Arbor Prep on the Gators’ court Saturday should boost Cass Tech as it rolls into this week’s rematch with rival Detroit Martin Luther King.
3. Negaunee 46, Ishpeming Westwood 36 – The one-loss Miners handed Westwood its first defeat of the winter, lining up their second meeting Feb. 15 as the likely decider in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Iron.
4. Centreville 44, Schoolcraft 42 – Centreville won this highly-anticipated nonleague matchup of undefeated teams both highly-regarded in Division 3.
5. Charlotte 51, Portland 33 – The Orioles handed the Raiders their first defeat this winter to move into first place alone in the Capital Area Activities Conference White.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
• Ann Arbor Pioneer (8-1) – The Pioneers won nine games total last season and tied for fifth in the Southeastern Conference Red. Last week Pioneer handed Saline its first loss of the season, holding onto a first-place tie in the league with Monroe. Pioneer’s only loss was to one-loss DeWitt.
• West Bloomfield (8-1) – The Lakers are unbeaten aside from a loss to still-undefeated Walled Lake Western on Dec. 11, a vast improvement from last year’s 7-14 finish. West Bloomfield in turn handed Avondale its only loss of this season and is closing in on guaranteeing its first winning record since 2010-11.
• Carleton Airport (8-1) – The Jets have won 17 games in back-to-back seasons and could be making another jump; their only defeat this winter was to reigning Class D champion Adrian Lenawee Christian by six Dec. 13. A major matchup is set for Thursday: Airport faces one-loss Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central for first in the Huron League.
• Kingsley (9-1) – The Stags are coming off arguably the best week of any team in the state. The opened with a 42-point win over Highland Conference leader Manton and finished by taking over first place alone in the Northwest Conference with a 47-39 victory versus Maple City Glen Lake. An early loss to always-solid Goodrich aside, Kingsley hasn’t slowed down after making last year’s Class B Semifinals.
• Michigan Center (10-0) – The Cardinals, also Class B semifinalists last season, have had one of the most memorable first halves of this winter. They sit atop the competitive Cascades Conference and have nonleague wins over Adrian Lenawee Christian and Flint Carman-Ainsworth. They also beat Williamston 95-90 in five overtimes, tying the longest game and ranking second for highest-scoring in MHSAA history.
• New Haven (8-1) – The Rockets just missed reaching .500 last season, but did win reportedly their first District title. And the momentum has continued to build; New Haven lost early to St. Clair Shores South Lake, but is undefeated and atop the standings after the first run through the Macomb Area Conference Bronze schedule. The Rockets also have a chance to avenge that South Lake loss in a Feb. 8 rematch.
• Athens (8-1) – The Indians finished 21-5 overall and second a year ago in their first season in the Southern Central Athletic Association West. They’re lining up for a possibly similar run – they’ve won eight straight since falling to one-loss Battle Creek Calhoun Christian in the season opener, and they are tied for first in the SCAA West with one-loss Climax-Scotts coming up this week and undefeated Bellevue on the last day of the month.
• Bear Lake (6-0) – With one more league game played (and won), Bear Lake has a slim lead atop the West Michigan D League over Pentwater after those two shared last season’s title. They meet for the first time next week; no team has come closer than 17 points to catching the Lakers so far this winter.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Monday – Detroit Edison (10-1) at Pewamo-Westphalia (8-0) – This sets up as one of the best matchups statewide of the regular season after these two met in the 2017 Class C Final and 2018 Semifinals, both Edison wins.
Tuesday – Sandusky (9-1) at Brown City (9-1) – The matchup for first place in the Greater Thumb Conference East features two teams that also have statewide Division 3 aspirations.
Wednesday – Detroit Cass Tech (9-2) at Detroit Martin Luther King (10-0) – King won the first meeting by three two weeks ago and can clinch a share of the Detroit Public School League Midtown title with another victory in the rematch.
Thursday – Detroit Mumford (10-2) at Detroit Renaissance (8-4) – Mumford faces Cody first Wednesday, but with a win that night could head into this one able to clinch the PSL West-Town championship outright after winning the first meeting with Renaissance by two.
Friday – East Kentwood (8-2) at Grand Haven (9-0) – Two teams with Division 1 statewide possibilities will be playing this one for first in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red. Both are undefeated in league play.
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: Ithaca, here against Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary, is hoping to surge in the Tri-Valley Conference West during the season’s second half. (Click to see 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.