Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 9

January 29, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

As we embark on the final month of this girls basketball season, the first league championships are being clinched and the first conference tournament brackets are filling in.

And on cue, potential MHSAA title contenders continue to rise.

A matchup of two champions from a year ago and the continued surge by the reigning Class A winner are among subjects of today’s report. Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at 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. Detroit Edison Public School Academy 62, Detroit Country Day 46 – Reigning Class C champion DEPSA has bounced quickly back from its lone loss earlier this month, to Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, with this win especially impressive over the reigning Class B title winner.  

2. Pittsford 56, Bellevue 40 – The undefeated Wildcats have won 67 straight games, tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in MHSAA history, and this one over the two-loss Broncos was the 66th in a row and one of most impressive this winter.

3. Bloomfield Hills Marian 34, Farmington Hills Mercy 25 – They could meet again in the Catholic League A-B Tournament in two weeks, but Marian gladly will take in a regular-season sweep of its rival, which could end up cementing the Catholic League Central title.

4. Harper Woods Chandler Park 59, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 35 – Chandler Park looks ready to make a move in Class B, with this the most recent of intriguing results against tough competition.  

5. Freeland 71, Hemlock 35 – Freeland has put together another strong run, improving to 11-2 with the latest this victory over previously-undefeated Hemlock in a crossover of first-place teams in the Tri-Valley Conference Central and West, respectively.

Watch List

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


Flushing (11-2) – With a group of key seniors to replace and a couple of tough opponents to start this winter, Flushing fell out of the Class A conversation for a bit. But the reigning champ Raiders are back in with 11 straight wins since those opening losses to Flint Carman-Ainsworth and Midland Dow. They’ve opened up a nice lead in the Flint Metro League, but a Feb. 6 matchup with Goodrich will be telling.

Grosse Pointe North (9-2) – The Norsemen, 12-11 a season ago, are on a five-game winning streak that has included avenging this season’s losses to Macomb Dakota and Warren Cousino. That run has put North just a half-game behind Dakota in the Macomb Area Conference Red standings, but with a couple of tough matchups with Port Huron Northern coming up over the next two weeks.


Clawson (12-1) – The Trojans clinched the MAC Bronze championship outright last week and have won every league game by at least 14 points. They can finish a second straight perfect run through the league schedule Thursday at New Haven and soon could equal last season’s 16 wins as well – the only loss was by five to Madison Heights Bishop Foley (now 8-5) at the beginning of December.

Detroit Mumford (10-3) – The Mustangs are perfect in 2018, enjoying a six-game winning streak capped by last week’s 74-66 victory over league rival Detroit Renaissance. Mumford ended 2017 with three straight losses to Class A powers Detroit Martin Luther King, Clarkston and DeWitt, but should be tough in the Detroit Public School League and Class B tournaments.


Flint Hamady (9-4) – A string of four losses in five games quieted talk about the usually dominant Hawks, but it’s important to keep those defeats in context – they came to Chandler Park, Goodrich, Flint Beecher and Country Day. Hamady, a Class C semifinalist last season, avenged the Goodrich loss with 49-44 win Friday and gets Beecher this Friday.  

St. Ignace (12-0) – The Saints have been a level above even the best teams on their side of the Upper Peninsula and below the bridge. The latest evidence was last week’s 68-21 win over Cedarville, which is leading the Eastern U.P. Athletic Conference and is 12-2 overall – the Trojans also lost to St. Ignace at the start of December. Circle a Feb. 10 game against Class B Goodrich and Feb. 17 against Detroit Edison among the most intriguing matchups in the state the rest of the way.


Morenci (10-2) – Losses to Pioneer North Central (Ohio) and undefeated Class C Pittsford are all that’s kept Morenci from perfection as it’s looked to build on last season’s 13-9 finish. The Bulldogs finished second in the Tri-County Conference last year but lead it today coming off a two-point win over reigning league champion Adrian Madison last Thursday. Morenci still has both games with second-place Ottawa Lake Whiteford coming up as the first was postponed two weeks ago.  

St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran (11-1) – Aside from an early six-point loss to Watervliet (now 8-3), the Titans have been perfect. They have a commanding lead in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference White and have played only one other game where the margin has been fewer than 17 points – a three-point win over Class B Buchanan (now 7-4).

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – East Lansing (13-0) at Williamston (14-0) – The Hornets have continued their perfect run despite losing top guard Maddie Watters to a season-ending injury two weeks ago; East Lansing is a Class A contender and should be the toughest test before playoffs begin.  

Thursday – Clarkston (11-2) at Southfield Arts & Technology (9-4) – The Wolves are undefeated in the Oakland Activities Association Red with a 55-50 win over Southfield A&T on Dec. 22 remaining the Warriors’ only league loss.  

Thursday – Macomb Dakota (10-3) at Port Huron Northern (10-4) – This matchup might have the best chance to mixing up what’s becoming a mashed-up MAC Red race; these two are among four teams at the top with either two or three league losses.

Friday – East Kentwood (14-0) at Grand Haven (10-3) – The Falcons finished the first half of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red schedule undefeated, but their closest win in or out of league this season was a four-pointer over Grand Haven in the first meeting Jan. 5.

Friday – DeWitt (12-1) at St. Johns (8-3) – The Panthers lead the Capital Area Activities Conference Red by two wins on St. Johns, but the Redwings are 5-1 since falling to DeWitt by 12 in mid-December.

PHOTO: A Freeland ball handler navigates the Hemlock defense during last week’s meeting of first-place teams in the Tri-Valley Conference. (Click for 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.