Performance: Wayne's Camree' Clegg

March 2, 2018

Camree’ Clegg
Wayne Memorial senior – Basketball

The 5-foot-5 senior guard has led her team to an 18-4 record heading into tonight’s Class A District Final against Dearborn Heights Crestwood. She scored 31 points in Wayne’s 50-46 win over Howell in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship game Feb. 22 to earn the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

Clegg recently was announced as one of four finalists for this season’s Miss Basketball Award, and she brings plenty of impressive credentials – Clegg is averaging 23.7 points, 6.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game this season and has scored more than 1,000 points for her career. She’s making 46 percent of her shots from the field and 39 percent of her 3-point attempts. Wayne finished 0-21 in 2014-15, but since Clegg joined the program as a sophomore (after transferring from Detroit Country Day) the Zebras have won two KLAA division titles, two overall league titles and a District championship.

Also a strong student, Clegg carries a 4.5 grade-point average and is dually enrolled at Schoolcraft College. She will graduate with nearly 30 college credits and has signed to continue her academic and basketball careers at Clemson University. She’ll major in sports communications with hopes of someday becoming a TV sportscaster, following a lengthy professional hoops career.

Coach Jarvis Mitchell said: “Camree’ embodies the structure of a progressive student-athlete. Not only is she a standout on the court, but she scored 1200 on the SAT test and currently carries a 4.5 GPA. She is a great kid with an unparalleled passion for competing. In my 14 years of coaching, I have never coached a player that competes every possession of a game or practice the way Camree’ does. She scores the ball well, and has a "follow me" like aggression towards the game of basketball. Not only has she propelled herself into an elite company, she has also been the nucleus of Wayne Memorial's plunge into relevancy. As a coach, she provides relief because I know I will get the extent of her effort each contest.”

Performance Point: “We were plagued by foul trouble … so I took it upon myself to carry the team,” Clegg said of the Howell win last week. “That’s kinda something I’ve been doing for the past three years, so it wasn’t anything new to me. Whenever we find ourselves in potentially a dire situation, I take it upon myself like, ‘OK, we’ve got to get this going. I try to get my team going as well as myself going, and usually it ends up working in our favor." 

Fear and encouragement: "I just put some energy into them, like ‘Come on guys, let’s go.’ Nobody wants to lose, so I try to put a little bit of fear into them like, ‘Do you guys want to lose? Come on, now. You guys gotta pick this up.’ And usually it ends up working – they end up getting fired up, they become more confident in themselves, they start hitting shots, they start making the right decisions. ... I think my team, you have to use psychology with them. Like say they miss a shot, they'll get into their own heads: 'I can't seem to make a shot.' You've just got to be like, 'No, you’re OK. Just come on. Just pick it up.' And usually they get the confidence back.”

Program builder: “It’s really a great feeling because I’ve been able to see everything turn around (at Wayne). To know I’ve been a trailblazer, a pioneer in this, it’s a great honor. And I hope it continues to get even better. … The easiest part has definitely been my coach has made it super easy for me – it’s easy to play for him because he has so much trust in me. The hardest part was probably going through the trials and tribulations, trying to make everyone better around me. Making them smarter because most of them came in as freshmen, (and) especially trying to play varsity as a freshman … just getting their minds right, making sure they get better, making sure they know the game is faster and adjusting them to the game. Just being that leader and trying to guide them in the right direction.”

This can be our year: “Everybody’s pretty much locked in. I believe last year we probably could’ve won it. We were definitely set back by injuries. But this year, everybody’s healthy, everybody’s doing good. Everybody’s getting so much better throughout the year, throughout all the preseason workouts. We feel like we’ve worked harder than anybody else, and we feel like we can definitely win it this year.”

Always working: “I have to excel in all facets of my life. I just try to balance it. I have somewhat of a short (class) schedule, so I have some time to do homework before practice, and after practice if I have a little bit left I just do it. I find myself extremely tired at the end of the day, but it’s all paying off. … My Plan A is I definitely want to become a pro basketball player, whether that’s here in the WNBA or potentially overseas, or potentially both. At the end of my career or if I don’t make it, I want to go into (becoming) potentially an analyst or a journalist within sports. My dream is to potentially end up on ESPN one day, so we’ll see if I can make that happen.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2017-18 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Previous 2017-18 honorees:
February 23: Aliah Robertson, Sault Ste. Marie swimming - Read
February 16: Austin O'Hearon, Eaton Rapids wrestling - Read
February 9: Sophia Wiard, Muskegon Oakridge basketball - Read
February 2: Brenden Tulpa, Hartland hockey - Read
January 25: Brandon Whitman, Dundee wrestling - Read
January 18: Derek Maas, Holland West Ottawa swimming - Read
January 11: Lexi Niepoth, Bellaire basketball - Read
November 30: La'Darius Jefferson, Muskegon football - Read
November 23: Ashley Turak, Farmington Hills Harrison swimming - Read
November 16: Bryce Veasley, West Bloomfield football - Read 
November 9: Jose Penaloza, Holland soccer - Read
November 2: Karenna Duffey, Macomb L'Anse Creuse North cross country - Read
October 26: Anika Dy, Traverse City Central golf - Read
October 19: Andrew Zhang, Bloomfield Hills tennis - Read
October 12: Nolan Fugate, Grand Rapids Catholic Central football - Read
October 5: Marissa Ackerman, Munising tennis - Read
September 28: Minh Le, Portage Central soccer - Read
September 21: Olivia Theis, Lansing Catholic cross country - Read
September 14: Maddy Chinn, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Wayne Memorial guard Camree' Clegg splits a pair of Novi defenders. (Middle) Clegg fires a no-look pass. (Photos courtesy of the Wayne Memorial girls basketball program.)

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.