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By Ryan Isley | Photos by Ben Jackson

The playoffs are just a couple of weeks away, so now feels like a good time to break down the field of likely contenders for the 2021-22 Ohio Ms. Basketball award.

Mount Notre Dame's KK Bransford took home the award last season as a junior, and she's back again, looking like a solid candidate to repeat.

Here's the potential field:

Dee Alexander, Purcell Marian, freshman, 6'1"

No freshman has ever won the award, but Alexander is good enough to be the first. Her recent exploits include breaking Purcell Marian's single-game scoring record with 49 points and recording the program's first triple-double with a 38-point, 10-rebound, 10-steal performance against Norwood. Kierstan Bell (Canton McKinley) is the only three-time Ohio Ms. Basketball winner (2017-19), and Alexander could top that.

Allison Basye, Huntington Ross, senior, 5’11”

Was named second-team All-Ohio last season and has been on one of the All-Ohio teams in each of her first three seasons. She averaged 28 points per game last year after averaging 23 points per game as a sophomore and 18 points per game as a freshman. She is also an aggressive rebounder and has averaged double-digit rebounds in each of her three seasons.

KK Bransford, Mount Notre Dame, senior, 5’11”

Named Ms. Ohio Basketball last season after averaging 21.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.0 steals and leading Mount Notre Dame to the Division I state title. She entered her senior season needing less than 400 points to reach 2,000 for her career. She is a do-it-all player who can score, assist or grab a rebound. She has signed to play at the University of Notre Dame.

Bri Claxon, South Webster, senior, 5’7”

She averaged 25.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game last year in being named second team All-Ohio. A quick guard who can play either the 1 or the 2, she also has developed a deadly jumper. She was born to play basketball. 

Chance Gray, Winton Woods, senior, 5’9”

Transferred from Lakota West after earning first-team All-Ohio honrs last season with 25 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game. A very hard worker who makes a huge impact on both ends of the court. She works extremely hard on the ball to start the defense. Because of how she is often defended, she is a tireless worker without the ball in her hands — constantly moving — but extremely unselfish in passing the ball and trying to set up teammates for success. She is committed to the University of Oregon.

Morgan Hunt, Tri-Village, junior, 5’10”

Earned first-team All-Ohio in Division IV and Southwest District’s Division IV co-player of the year last season while averaging 18.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. She is a great all-around player who has a great competitive nature and really shines in the transition game. Can knock down the open perimeter shot but her best gift is her ability to finish around the rim.

Chloe Jeffers, Delaware Hayes, senior, 5'10"

Jeffers excels at either guard position and can score in bunches or distribute to her teammates. The Butler commit was recently nominated for the McDonald's All-American Game.

Mary Meng, Midview, junior, 6’4”

Transferred to Midview after two seasons at non-OHSAA Christian Community School in North Eaton. She has great footwork for someone her size in the paint. She has stepped up with the level of competition and was averaging 16 points and 17 rebounds per game through the first handful of games for the Middies this season. In her first game for Midview, she scored 21 points, grabbed 26 rebounds and blocked eight shots against Avon.

Ben Jackson_Mason_Lakota West_girls.29

Kyla Oldacre, Mason, senior, 6’5”

Averaged 14.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game last season, her first season at Mason after transferring from Princeton. She has been named first-team all-conference in all three seasons and was the conference defensive player of the year as a freshman and sophomore. She is committed to the University of Miami (Florida).

Mya Perry, Reynoldsburg, senior, 5’11”

She scored 15.3 points per game last season on 50.1% shooting and 43.9% from 3-point range to be named special mention All-Ohio. An unselfish player who cares more about team success than personal success, she can play either of the wing spots and is a good shooter who can also take the ball to the basket and finish. She has committed to Ohio State.

Lanae Riley, Archbishop Hoban, senior, 5’11”

Was named first-team All-Ohio last season by averaging 22.1 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 63% from the field. She has signed to play at Middle Tennessee State. She is a great rebounder and a strong scorer in the paint. Has worked on adding a jumper to round out her offensive game. While already an outstanding player, she continues to be very coachable.

Imarianah Russell, Reynoldsburg, senior, 5’11”

Was named first-team All-Ohio last season in her first at Reynoldsburg after two seasons at Dublin Coffman and averaged 20.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a junior. A 1,000-point scorer in her career who can score from anywhere on the floor. Defensively, she can lock down her defender and also has the quickness to step into the passing lanes for a steal leading to a transition opportunity. She has committed to West Virginia.

Jenna Smith, Garrettsville Garfield, senior, 6’0”

Honorable mention All-Ohio last season with 18.3 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. She has already scored 1,000 points in her career through her junior season. The offense runs through her, and she is a matchup problem for teams because of how well she runs the floor and can handle the ball. She has committed to play at Marietta College.

Faith Stinson, Sheridan, senior, 6’1”

Averaged 18.8 points and 11.9 rebounds per game last season to be named first-team All-Ohio for the second time in her career. She can play inside or outside and handles the ball as a secondary ball-handler against the press. On pace to become Sheridan’s all-time leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. She has committed to play at the University of Akron.

Zennia Thomas, Warrensville Heights, senior, 6'2"

Thomas, who transferred in this season after playing three years at Brush, has been a nightmare this season to defend and box out. She's averaging 30 points and 14.3 rebounds per game and received an offer last week from Purdue.

Maddie Vejsicky, Newark, senior, 6’0”

An athletic wing who can play either the 2 or the 3, she is also a lethal shooter from deep, as she set the school record with 10 3-pointers made in the district championship game last season and also holds the school record for the most 3-pointers in a season. She can also set up her teammates for a shot. Defensively, she has the length to guard multiple spots. She has signed with Virginia Tech.

Reagan Vinskovich, Belmont Union, junior, 6’1”

She was named second-team All-Ohio last season when she averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds per game. She has already surpassed 1,000 points in her career early in her junior campaign. Known as a great a scorer, this season she has been asked to handle the ball more and also play in the mid-range. She can play multiple positions, including the wing and the post when needed.

Berry Wallace, Pickerington Central, sophomore, 6’1”

One of the top sophomores at the position, she averaged a double-double last season with 10 points and 10 rebounds per game as a freshman. She is a bigger wing player who can score at all three levels. She has a high basketball IQ and great feel for the game. Already has received multiple Division I offers.

Sole Williams, Princeton, junior, 5’8”

After missing last season with an ankle injury, she made up for lost time by scoring a total of 56 points in the first two games this season. Sole can score at all three levels, has great court vision, can rebound from the guard position, and is an all-out competitor. Sole makes her teammates better and ignites the high-level pace Princeton plays. Her work ethic separates her from most student-athletes on and off the floor in both the classroom and the basketball court.

Belle Zirzow, Bristol, senior, 6’0”

Named honorable mention All-Ohio last season after averaging 19.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, which both led the team. She can score from the inside or the outside, as she is a good shooter from the perimeter. She uses her size inside to be a good rebounder. 

Meet SBLive Ohio’s 2021-22 all-star girls basketball team, chosen by fan votes