Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 8
January 28, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Everyone loves snow days. But here’s hoping the frigid weather warms up quickly enough to make way for the start of the final month of girls basketball season.
This week is filled with titanic matchups that will end up helping to decide league championships – and likely foreshadow a number of key postseason duels as well.
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. Detroit Edison 53, Pewamo-Westphalia 39 – This was the third straight season these powers had met, with Edison adding to its wins in the 2016 Class C Final and 2017 Semifinals.
2. Detroit Cass Tech 61, Detroit Martin Luther King 59 – Cass Tech avenged a three-point loss to King on Jan. 9 to join the Crusaders in a first-place tie in the Detroit Public School League Midtown with one league game left for both.
3. Grand Haven 78, East Kentwood 55 – After falling twice to East Kentwood last season, Grand Haven took over first alone in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red with this big win.
4. Flint Kearsley 55, Flushing 50 – This close win pulled Kearsley into a first-place tie in the Flint Metro League with Fenton just ahead of Flushing, which beat Fenton two weeks ago.
5. New Lothrop 47, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 41 – After a rough start, the Hornets finished the first half of the regular season with four straight wins, this one over an annual championship contender the most encouraging.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
• Bloomfield Hills Marian (11-0) – Two wins in two weeks over rival Farmington Hills Mercy has Marian comfortably atop the Detroit Catholic League Central after Marian and Mercy shared the title a year ago. Marian added a District title last season and could be line for more – the Mustangs remain the only team to defeat 2018 Class A semifinalist Grosse Pointe North this winter.
• Walled Lake Western (12-0) – We featured Western on Second Half two weeks ago, and the Warriors have added two more wins since to remain the only team unbeaten in Lakes Valley Conference play. A league title would be the program’s third straight, and Western has won 21 straight LVC games since falling in the season opener last winter.
• Corunna (12-0) – The Cavaliers have won nine straight by double digits and can all but lock up the Genesee Area Conference Red title with another victory Friday over second-place Flint Hamady, which Corunna beat in overtime on Dec. 14. Corunna had finished third in the league the last two seasons but did earn a District title to close last winter.
• Stanton Central Montcalm (11-0) – The Hornets have run their regular-season winning streak to 31 and hold a slim lead over Fremont in the Central State Activities Association Gold after a 30-point win in their first meeting Jan. 4. Central Montcalm has won all six of its 2019 games by at least 30 points, showing plenty of bounce-back after last season’s run was stopped abruptly by a first-round District loss.
• Brown City (11-1) – The Green Devils have climbed to the top of the Greater Thumb Conference East thanks in part to last week’s overtime win over second-place Sandusky. They then matched last season’s win total with another victory Friday over Capac (after going 11-10 in 2017-18), and the lone defeat this winter came over holiday break to one-loss Kingston.
• Carson City-Crystal (8-3) – The Eagles have three defeats, but to teams that are a combed 29-5 including Central Montcalm (mentioned above). Carson City-Crystal sits atop the Mid-State Activities Conference after ending Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart’s 24-game league winning streak last week, 31-27. They meet again in the regular-season finale, Feb. 28.
• Camden-Frontier (9-4) – The Redskins are tied for first in the Southern Central Athletic Association East with annual power Pittsford and already have avenged two early losses with rematch wins over Reading and Waldron. Camden-Frontier improved to finish 14-9 a year ago and closed with a District title, and could be on the verge of another step up.
• Kingston (11-1) – The Cardinals are eyeing a seventh-straight league title, with a slight lead on Deckerville in the North Central Thumb League Stars. They’ve won 53 straight league games going back to 2012-13 and are trying to build on last season’s Quarterfinal run. The only defeat this winter was by four to Division 1 Utica Eisenhower, and Kingston beat Deckerville by 29 in their first meeting.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – East Lansing (12-0) at DeWitt (11-1) – The Trojans hold a slim lead on the Panthers in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue thanks to a 45-41 win in their first meeting Dec. 14.
Tuesday – Southfield Arts & Technology (12-1) at Royal Oak (12-0) – The winner will finish the first run through Oakland Activities Association Red play alone in first; the rematch is Feb. 28.
Friday – Midland Dow (10-1) at Saginaw Heritage (10-0) – This will be a full house for much more than the MHSAA’s Battle of the Fans visit; these two are tied for first in the Saginaw Valley League Red, and Heritage also beat Dow in a District Final last year on the way to winning the Class A title.
Friday – Flint Hamady (10-1) at Corunna (12-0) – Some of the details are noted above; Hamady also will be coming off a Tuesday matchup with Detroit Country Day.
Saturday – Stanton Central Montcalm (11-0) vs. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (9-4) at Northwood University – This stacks up as Central Montcalm’s toughest test as it looks to finish a second straight regular season unbeaten.
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: Negaunee's Abigail Nelson (42) tries to grab the ball away from Ishpeming's Jocelynn Nyman (10) as teammates MacKenzie Karki (3) and Chloe Norman (22) provide support. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)
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.