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Dee Alexander Repeats as Ohio Ms. Basketball With Loudonville’s Corri Vermilya as Runner-Up

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cincinnati Purcell Marian junior Dee Alexander was announced as the 2024 Ohio Ms. Basketball Wednesday by a statewide media panel. She won the award last year as a sophomore.

Now in its 37th year, the prestigious award was first given by the Associated Press in 1988. It has been voted by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association since 2017.

Loudonville senior Corri Vermilya was the runner-up. Pickerington Central senior Berry Wallace finished third and Shaker Heights Laurel sophomore Saniyah Hall finished fourth. Other finalists included Whitehouse Anthony Wayne junior Elise Bender, Bloom-Carroll senior Emily Bratton, Springboro junior Bryn Martin and Berlin Hiland senior Ashley Mullet.

A group of women playing basketball

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Cincinnati Purcell Marian junior Dee Alexander. Photo credit OHSAA.

Dee Alexander Repeats as 2024 Ohio Ms. Basketball

By Mike Dyer, Cincinnati WCPO-TV

Johnnetta Johnson has taught at Purcell Marian High School for 24 years and is still learning from her students.

“I tell them school’s never out,” Johnson said.

One of those students in Johnson’s first bell American Sign Language III class just happens to be two-time Ohio Ms. Basketball recipient Dee Alexander.

“She’s unique; she’s different,” said Johnson, who is also the school’s dean of students. “She’s one of a kind.”

Alexander, a 6-foot-1 junior wing and an honors student, was named Wednesday afternoon as Ohio Ms. Basketball for a second straight year by a statewide media panel.

“It’s accomplishments that I’ve always wanted to check off my checklist,” Alexander said. “I’ve always had the same but as I’m going I’ve checked off more and more.”

This season’s runner-up was Loudonville senior Corri Vermilya. Pickerington Central senior Berry Wallace and Shaker Heights Laurel sophomore Saniyah Hall earned third and fourth places, respectively.

Alexander is the seventh player to win the prestigious award at least twice.

“She’s unselfish,” Johnson said. “You can tell she can make baskets if she wants to but she’s passing so other people can be part of the game with her. I’m super proud. That’s my girl.”

Alexander and Johnson have a lot in common. Alexander can respond and sign a basic conversation with Johnson. Alexander improved academically last school year with a focus inspired by Johnson.

“It’s just been nothing but love between those two and she’s been there every step of the way helping Dee on and off the floor as well,” Purcell Marian coach Jamar Mosley said.

“She’s everywhere with us. Other girls feel comfortable telling her everything. Dee feels comfortable telling her things. She’s there with her before school in the mornings. It’s really amazing to see flourish.”

Alexander and Johnson share smiles in photos and light-hearted moments. Johnson is like a second mom to Alexander.

“Just having her as a teacher I just felt like I never thought we would have the bond that we have now,” Alexander said. “Having her as my first bell teacher I can go to her. I can talk to her about anything.”

What Alexander won’t do is boast about her accomplishments on the basketball court.

“She always wants to be better,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know she was player of the year. I didn’t know she was nominated for Ms. Ohio. And I literally have her first bell. She literally didn’t say a word.”

Alexander doesn’t have to speak about it. The spotlight is known.

That includes this weekend when nationally-ranked Purcell Marian (27-1), a reigning two-time state champion, plays Copley (25-3) in a Division II state semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday at University of Dayton Arena. The state final is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena.

“Dee has had an incredible year leading Purcell Marian deep into the ESPNW national rankings and back to Dayton,” said Bryce McKey, She Hoops Ohio co-founder and director of operations.

“While everyone knows Dee’s talent, her leadership ability has had an amazing impact on her school, community and program as a whole. As one of the top states in the country for girls basketball, it is an amazing accomplishment to be Ohio’s Ms. Basketball especially in back-to-back seasons.”

Purcell Marian, winners of 25 consecutive games, could become the sixth girls basketball team in Ohio history to win three state championships in a row.

“It’s going to be us as a team unstoppable once again,” Alexander said. “Going to state again and winning state again – that’s the confidence that I have. We all got the same confidence as a whole as a team.”

A state title is Alexander’s singular focus this weekend. But, at the same time, the college recruiting spotlight awaits.

Alexander, who had 40-plus scholarship offers earlier this school year, has narrowed her college choices to 15 schools. She wants to take additional visits before narrowing her options to four programs.

The 15 college programs include (in no particular order) Tennessee, University of Southern California, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Arizona, South Carolina, Iowa, Texas, Illinois, Louisiana State University, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

“Being able to coach a generational talent like Dee Alexander has been amazing,” Mosley said. “I’m honored and blessed to be able to do so. She’s loved on and off the floor. She’s a person of character.”

Alexander, ranked the nation’s fourth-best player in the 2025 class by ESPN, averages 18.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.6 steals. Mosley said Alexander could average 30-plus points but wants to get her teammates involved offensively.

“The work that she puts in she’s just going to get better,” Mosley said. “I get that other people are going to get better. I don’t see many people outworking Dee. So as good of a player as she is now just to think of how good she can be at this time next year it’s really scary.”

Now in its 37th year, the prestigious Ohio Ms. Basketball award was first given by the Associated Press in 1988. It has been voted by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association since 2017.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Greater Cincinnati has won the award including Alexander (2024 and 2023) and Mount Notre Dame’s KK Bransford (2022 and 2021), who is now a sophomore guard at the University of Notre Dame.

Past Ohio Ms. Basketball Ohio winners

2024 – Dee Alexander, Cincinnati Purcell Marian, junior 

2023 – Dee Alexander, Cincinnati Purcell Marian, sophomore

2022 – KK Bransford, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, senior

2021 – KK Bransford, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, junior

2020 – Madeline Westbeld, Kettering Fairmont, senior

2019 – Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley, senior

2018 – Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley, junior

2017 – Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley, sophomore

2016 – Jensen Caretti, Hannibal River, senior

2015 – Hallie Thome, Chagrin Falls, senior

2014 – Kelsey Mitchell, Cin. Princeton, senior

2013 – Ashley Morrissette, Twinsburg, senior

2012 – Ameryst Alston, Canton McKinley, senior

2011 – Ameryst Alston, Canton McKinley, junior

2010 – Natasha Howard, Tol. Waite, senior

2009 – Kendall Hackney, Cin. Mount Notre Dame, senior

2008 – Amber Gray, West Chester Lakota West, senior

2007 – Jantel Lavender, Cleveland Central Catholic, senior

2006 – Tyra Grant, Youngstown Ursuline, senior

2005 – Maria Getty, Dayton Chaminade-Julienne, senior

2004 – Mel Thomas, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, senior

2003 – Brittany Hunter, Columbus Brookhaven, senior

2002 – Barbara Turner, Cleveland East Tech, senior

2001 – Michelle Munoz, Mason, senior

2000 – Michelle Munoz, Mason, junior

1999 – (TIE) Kaayla Chones, Eastlake North, senior; LaToya Turner, Pickerington, senior

1998 – Tamika Williams, Dayton Chaminade-Julienne, senior

1997 – Semeka Randall, Garfield Hts. Trinity, senior

1996 – Semeka Randall, Garfield Hts. Trinity, junior

1995 – Beth Ostendorf, Pickerington, senior

1994 – Na’Sheema Hillmon, Garfield Hts. Trinity, senior

1993 – Marlene Stollings, Beaver Eastern, senior

1992 – Katie Smith, Logan, senior

1991 – Vonda Ward, Garfield Hts. Trinity, senior

1990 – Vonda Ward, Garfield Hts. Trinity, junior

1989 – Carol Madsen, Reading, senior

1988 – Janet Haneberg, Cincinnati Seton, senior

Notable

Three-time winner: Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley (2017, 2018, 2019)

Won as junior (7): Vonda Ward, Garfield Heights. Trinity (1990, 1991); Semeka Randall, Garfield Heights Trinity (1996, 1997); Michelle Munoz, Mason (2000, 2001), Ameryst Alston, Canton McKinley (2011, 2012), Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley (2017, 2018, 2019), KK Bransford, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame (2021), Dee Alexander, Cincinnati Purcell Maria (2024).

Won as sophomore (2): Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley (2017); Dee Alexander, Cincinnati Purcell Marian (2023)

Co-winners (1): 1999 – Kaayla Chones, Eastlake North and LaToya Turner, Pickerington

All-Ohio Teams Announced

The girls basketball All-Ohio teams will be announced March 25-26, followed by the boys All-Ohio teams March 27-28. The teams are selected by members of the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association. More about the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association can be found at: http://www.ohsaa.org/news/OPSWA

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