By Mike Dyer, Cincinnati WCPO-TV
SHARONVILLE — Dee Alexander clipped the final two pieces of the regional championship net and playfully tossed it several rows into the Purcell Marian High School student section where chants of ‘MVP’ accompanied her.
The Purcell Marian 6-foot-1 sophomore wing walked down a few steps from the ladder and smiled. Alexander scored 24 of her game-high 28 points on that same hoop in the second half during a victory over Hamilton Badin in a Division II girls basketball regional final.
It was a challenge from Purcell Marian coach Jamar Mosley during a timeout with 3:42 left in the third quarter that helped to ignite Alexander. The Cavaliers held a two-point lead after Alexander had early foul trouble.
“‘Dee, it’s your time now,'” Mosley said to Alexander. “‘We’ve been riding you this whole year. We’re going to ride you. No matter what happens on both ends of the floor – we need you to step up.'”
Alexander, 16, did just that. Alexander’s clutch performance was emblematic of her entire memorable season. That’s why Alexander was named Ohio Ms. Basketball by a statewide media panel on Wednesday afternoon.
“I was shocked but it was one of the things I wanted to check off my checklist,” said Alexander. “I take a lot of pride in it.”
Alexander is just the second sophomore to win Ohio Ms. Basketball after Canton McKinley’s Kierstan Bell won the first of three consecutive awards in 2017.
The spotlight has accompanied Alexander for quite some time. Alexander has been lauded as a generational talent and one of the nation’s top five players in the 2025 class by ESPN. She earned 18 college scholarship offers weeks before she started high school classes in August 2021.
“I can’t say enough this kid,” Purcell Marian athletic director DJ Dowdy said. “She is a phenom. The way she goes about things. It’s just phenomenal.”
Now in its 36th 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 season’s runner-up was New Madison Tri-Village senior Rylee Sagester. Loudonville junior Corri Vermilya and Pickerington Central senior Madison Greene earned third and fourth places, respectively. Other finalists included Toledo Start junior Sinai Douglas, Shaker Heights Laurel freshman Saniyah Hall and Belmont Union Local senior Reagan Vinskovich.
Alexander is Purcell Marian’s first Ms. Basketball recipient.
“For a girl out of Purcell Marian, a kid of Dee’s caliber just means so much to our program,” Mosley said. “I’m happy and honored to be able to coach a kid like her and her hard work is paying off. Every day in practice she’s pushing herself. She’s pushing the girls around her.”
This is the third consecutive year that Greater Cincinnati has won the award after Mount Notre Dame’s KK Bransford (2022 and 2021), who is now a freshman guard at the University of Notre Dame.
Other Greater Cincinnati winners have included Princeton’s Kelsey Mitchell (2014), Lakota West’s Amber Gray (2008), Reading’s Carol Madsen (1989) and Seton’s Janet Haneberg (1988).
Alexander’s name is etched into Ohio high school girls basketball history with two years remaining at Purcell Marian. She enters the state Final Four with 35 college scholarship offers to go along with 1,307 points for her career. Alexander averages 25.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals this season.
“Dee is an extremely talented player and one of the best I’ve coached against,” Summit Country Day coach Beth Simmons said. “Her competitive nature on the court demonstrates that she has the ability to take over a game, but she is also a selfless player who uses her talent to get her teammates involved. Speaking as someone who prepares my team to play against Dee, I will tell you that she is always a focal point in our scouting reports. She can score at will and rebounds exceptionally well.”
Although the accolades are obvious, Alexander’s main focus is to help Purcell Marian repeat as state champions, a year after the program won its first state championship (Division III).
Purcell Marian (25-2) plays Bryan (25-2) in a Division II state semifinal at 11 a.m. Thursday at University of Dayton Arena.
Alexander is looking forward to all of the support from the school’s student section and fans as they travel to Dayton.
“Just the community all around Purcell Marian even though it’s a small high school – the community is very great,” Alexander said. “So just us winning two in a row, it would mean a lot to me.”
Dowdy said Alexander is a model student-athlete with all ‘A’ grades and a ‘B’ in the latest academic quarter. Those who know Alexander say she enjoys being with her classmates and friends. She also likes to give back with a summer basketball camp, called ‘Camp Dee’.
On the basketball court, Alexander is unselfish, yet ultra-competitive. She is adept at analyzing scouting reports and an opponent’s tendencies as almost like another coach. It goes without saying Alexander’s teammates respect her game and her leadership during the season.
“For her, I’m glad she is getting her flowers in real time,” Dowdy said. “She is special.”
Past Ohio Ms. Basketball Ohio winners
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
Three-time winner: Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley (2017, 2018, 2019)
Won as junior (6): 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)
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 20-21, followed by the boys All-Ohio teams March 22-23. 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