Flashback: Cass Tech Comes Back
July 12, 2016
By John Johnson
MHSAA Communications Director
The third week of this summer’s "80s Finals Flashback" series on MHSAA.tv features one of the largest Finals comebacks in girls and boys basketball history.
Great game-winning shots, monumental comebacks and late-game touchdown drives will be featured for nine weeks this summer as part of the Flashbacks series. See the links below for the first two installments, and click to watch this week's on MHSAA.tv. DVDs may be purchased directly from the MHSAA.tv Website – just click the “Get DVD” button below the player.
Week of July 11 – Detroit Cass Tech 52, Saginaw 51 – 1987 Class A Girls Basketball Final – Trailing by 20 with two minutes to play in the third quarter, Detroit Cass Tech rallied to defeat Saginaw, 52-51, in the Class A Final at Grand Valley State University in Allendale. The Technicians held the reigning champion scoreless over the final 4:16, while scoring the final nine points to grab the title. LaTonya Tate finished with 20 points, including the game-winning 3-point field goal with 1:43 remaining. Sheronda Mayo added 14 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. Sentaria Johnson finished with a career-high 20 points for Saginaw.
July 5: Traverse City 24, Detroit Catholic Central 14 – 1988 Class A Football Final - Watch
June 28: Saginaw Buena Vista 33, Flint Beecher 32 – 1986 Class B Boys Basketball Final - Watch
Also, the championship games of the 2016 MHSAA Boys & Girls Basketball Tournaments, presented by Sparrow Health, will receive encore airings this week on FOX Sports Detroit.
Here’s the complete schedule, with links to the archived games on MHSAA.tv:
Girls Finals – Tuesday (July 12)
- Class D - Pittsford (48) v. Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart (30) - 4 p.m.
- Class A - Warren Cousino (67) v. Detroit Martin Luther King (65) - 6 p.m.
- Class C - Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (52) v. Traverse City St. Francis (37) - 8 p.m.
- Class B - Marshall (51) v. Grand Rapids South Christian (42) - 10 p.m.
Boys Finals – Thursday (July 14)
- Class D - Powers North Central (59) v. Waterford Our Lady (48) - 4 p.m.
- Class A - Detroit U-D Jesuit (69) v. North Farmington (49) - 6 p.m.
- Class C - Flint Beecher (63) v. Grandville Calvin Christian (61) - 8 p.m.
- Class B - Detroit Henry Ford (61) v. Stevensville Lakeshore (47) - 10 p.m.
NOTE: Some portions of the games may be edited out due to time constraints.
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.