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Who will follow KK Bransford as Ohio’s Miss Basketball in 2022?

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, April 2, 2021, 6:40 pm

Now that we know that Mount Notre Dame junior KK Bransford — fresh of leading her squad to the Division I title — is the 2021 Ohio Miss Basketball, our thoughts turned to the future. As in, who might be the 2022 Miss Basketball in the Buckeye State? Here’s a look at 10 players (in alphabetical order) who could capture the award next season:

KK Bransford, Mount Notre Dame

Well, duh. As the sixth junior to win the award — joining Garfield Heights Trinity’s Vonda Ward (1990) and Semeka Randall (1996), Mason’s Michelle Munoz (2000) and Canton McKinley’s Ameryst Alston (2011) and Kierstan Bell (2018) — Bransford could certainly pull the repeat. And nobody that’s won it as a sophomore or junior (Bell was the only sophomore) has not come back the next season and won it again. Bransford led the Girls Greater Catholic league in scoring (21.4), assists (5.1), field-goal percentage (51.5) and steals (3.0) and was third in rebounding (6.4). Mount Notre Dame has won 72 straight games, including the last two Division I state titles that were contested — and was 28-0 when the 2020 tournament was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bransford is 87-2 in her varsity career.

Chance Gray, West Chester Lakota West

The 5-foot-9 junior averaged 26 points per game, earning first-team All-Ohio honors in D-I. She’s the highest-ranked of Ohio’s six players on the ESPNW HoopGurlz Super 60 recruiting rankings for the 2022 class, at No. 14. Lakota West went 18-5, finishing second to Mason in the Greater Miami Conference, then bowed out to Mason in the district semifinal. 

Cotie McMahon, Centreville

The 5-foot-11 junior averaged 21.2 points per game, earning first-team All-Ohio honors in D-I, after leading Centreville to a 22-3 record, including a 56-25 loss to Mount Notre Dame in the D-I regional semifinals. She’s ranked No. 42 on the ESPNW HoopGurlz Super 60 recruiting rankings for the 2022 class.

Kyla Oldacre, William Mason

A transfer from Princeton, Oldacre helped lead Mason to its first Greater Miami Conference title in three seasons, and a perfect 20-0 record before losing 55-51 to Wayne in the regional semifinals. The 6-foot-6 Oldacre is No. 17 on the ESPNW HoopGurlz Super 60 recruiting rankings for the 2022 class. She averaged 14.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game, despite missing six games at the end of January, start of February. Oldacre had 29 points and 10 blocks in the season-ending loss. 

Lanae Riley, Akron Archbishop Hoban

The 5-foot-11 junior averaged 22 points per game, earning first-team All-Ohio honors in D-I. Riley had a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds in a 55-41 loss to Newark in the D-I semifinals for a 19-4 Archbishop Hoban squad. 

Imarianah Russell and Alexa Mobley, Reynoldsburg

The duo helped lead Reynoldsburg to an 18-4 record before losing 60-57 to Dublin Coffman in the D-I regional semifinals.

The 5-foot-11 Russell averaged 19.5 points per game, earning first-team All-Ohio honors in D-I. The 6-foot-2 Mobley, bound for Louisville, is No. 29 on the ESPNW HoopGurlz Super 60. recruiting rankings for the 2022 class. She averaged 12.6 points per game, earning third-team all-Central District honors.

Lauren Scott, Worthington Kilbourne

The 5-foot-7 point guard averaged 21.7 points per game as a junior, earning third-team All-Ohio honors in D-I. Kilbourne (16-8) lost 65-51 to Watkins Memorial in the district semifinals, but Scott had 24 of those points. After averaging 14.8 points as a freshman, and 18.2 as a sophomore, Scott upped her scoring average by nearly nine points again between her sophomore and junior seasons, topping the 20-point mark 13 times and the 30-point mark four times.

Faith Stinson, Thornville Sheridan

The 6-foot-1 junior averaged 19.7 points per game, helping the Generals go 23-2 and finish second in the Muskingum Valley, before losing to eventual D-II runner-up Vinton County in the regional finals. She was the only junior on the D-II All-Ohio first team. 

Grace VanSlooten, Toledo Notre Dame Academy

The 6-foot-2 junior averaged 21.8 points per game, earning first-team All-Ohio honors in D-I. She’s ranked No. 16 on the ESPNW HoopGurlz Super 60 recruiting rankings for the 2022 class. VanSlooten had 20 points and eight rebounds in the 59-50 loss to Mount Notre Dame in the OHSAA D-I semifinals.

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A few for the year after next:

Paige Kohler, Soph., Olmsted Falls (Third-team All-Ohio in D-I)

Jenna Kopyar, Soph., Dublin Coffman (Second-team All-Ohio in D-I)

Lexi Howe, Soph., Dresden Tri-Valley (Second-team All-Ohio in D-II)

Gia Casalinova, Soph., Cuyahoga Falls CVCA (Second-team All-Ohio in D-II)

Rylee Leonard, Soph., Sardinia Eastern Brown (First-team All-Ohio in D-III)

Reagan Vinskovich, Soph., Belmont Union Local (Second-team All-Ohio in D-III)

Morgan Hunt, Soph., Tri Village (First-team All-Ohio in D-IV)

[Photo of KK Bransford courtesy of the OHSAA]