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2022 OHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament Preview

March 8, 2022
Girls Basketball State Tournament Preview
By Jim Dabbelt
There will be four new state champions crowned this weekend at the University of Dayton Arena as the 47th annual OHSAA girls basketball state tournament will held in the Gem City this weekend.
This should be another great weekend for championship basketball in Ohio as four teams look to close their memorable season as state champions.
Division 1
Mason will be making their sixth overall appearance in the state Final Four, and head coach Rob Matula brings in a solid group of young ladies who defeated the defending state champions from Mount Notre Dame in the regional finals. The Comets are led by 6’6 senior McDonald All-American Kyla Oldacre, a strong force in the paint. Also, freshman Madison Parrish had made a big impact during her first season with Mason. The Comets won the state championship in 2000, with three more runner-up finishes.
Massillon Jackson makes the trip to Dayton from Northeast Ohio, and they are led by 6’ senior guard Emma Dretke scoring 15.1 points per game, along with juniors Lauren Pallotta, a 5’11 guard ( 14.2 ppg) and Leena Patibandla, a 6’1 junior averaging 8.9 points per game. Rising sophomore Megan Campbell is a 5’10 guard contributing 11.2 points giving Jackson plenty of weapons to choose from.
Reynoldsburg will be making their fourth Final Four appearance this year. They have won six OCC championships in the last 12 years. They will be led by Central District Player of the Year Imarianah Russell who averages 24.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game along with Mya Perry, a 5’11 senior scoring 18.1 points per game.
Anthony Wayne makes their first appearance in the Final Four from the Northern Lakes League. The Lady Generals have solid experience on the roster with the likes of Payton Miller, 5’4 senior point guard along with Jenna Rybicki, who is a 5’10 senior who both will continue their athletic careers playing soccer at Findlay. Freshman Elise Bender (5’11) is already making some noise in her conference and throughout the tournament, averaging 16.5 points per game, along with Brooke Bender (5’11 freshman) averaging 8.0 points per game.
Division 2
Norton will be making their third overall appearance in the Final Four, but their first since 1986. Bailey Shutsa is their leader as the 5’6 senior guard has helped the Panthers male their way through the Metro Athletic Conference and has peaked at the right time, advancing to Dayton this weekend.
Thornville Sheridan is in the Final Four for the fourth time in school history including their last appearance in 2019. Faith Stinson was named the Southeast District Player of the Year, and the 6’1 senior averages 14.3 points per game. 5’10 sophomore Jamisyn Stinson was also a first-team all-district player scoring at a pace of 17.2. Bailey Beckstedt is another experienced player who was all-district scoring 10.0 points per game giving Sheridan a very solid core group of players who can produce in the big games.
Bishop Hartley comes into the Final Four making their eighth appearance in school history, which has included three previous state titles. They have a balanced attack with four players all scoring nine or more points per game. They are led by 5’6 junior Kiki McElrath scoring 18 points per game, along with Ohio State volleyball commit Ella Brandewie averaging a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds per game. Lexi Cashwell is a good senior leader at nine points per game, as is Bella Parker also contributing nine per game.
Kettering Alter is no stranger to the final four, having won the state championship four times, including their last one in 2017.  Co-coaches Chris Hart and Kendal Peck look to being in a team with a good mixture of quality experience and promising youth into championship weekend. The team gets great senior leadership from Caraline Kernan (5’8 guard), Karlie Romer (5’10 wing) and Emma Hansley (5’8 guard) along with some rising underclassmen Riley Smith (6’2 sophomore), Elena Thompson (6’ sophomore) and freshman Maddie Moody, a 6’2 post.
Division 3
Purcell Marian will be making their second consecutive appearance in the Final Four, after making it to the big stage last season for the first time in school history. Everyone wants to see their fab freshman, Dee Alexander who was co-Player of the Year in the Southwest District and ranked the #1 2025 in Ohio by Prep Girls Hoops. Alexander is definitely not alone with the likes of 5’8 sophomore perimeter threat Jayda Mosley and the 2025 twins Cy’Aira and Ky’Aira Miller. This is a team who loves to push the tempo with kids who can finish.
It has been 21 years since Worthington Christian has been to the Final Four, but they have found their way to Dayton after an exciting Regional run. Blessing King is their key player to watch as the 5’10 senior comes in averaging just over 14 points per game and was first-team all-district. Joining King on the first-team was Meghan Mayotte, a key 5’8 junior who also scores over 14 points per game. Meghan Weakley was also all-district as the 5-10 junior scores just over 11 per game.
Belmont Union Local makes their initial appearance at the Final Four in Dayton. The Eastern District team has a very strong nucleus of skilled players including a pair of first-team all-district selections. Torre Kildow is a 6’1 junior who was selected as the district co-Player of the Year averaging 18 points per game. Reagan Vinskovich is a 6’2 junior sitting at 16 per game. Hannah Merritt was also third-team all-district as the 5’7 senior also averaged in double figures.
Waynedale punched their ticket to their second Final Four appearance in school history and will rely on solid defense and rebounding for success. They are the only unbeaten team in this years’ Final Four regardless of division. Brooklyn Yoder is a 5’7 senior who was named the Player of the Year in their league and averages 10.4 points per game. Alyssa Geiser was also honored by both her conference and district, and the 5’7 sophomore scores 13 per game.
Division 4
Cincinnati Country Day has caught the attention of the entire Southwest District with their win over the defending state champions from Fort Loramie in the regionals. Now they go after first state championship in school history in their first Final Four appearance. They are a very balanced team led by senior Gracie Barnes averaging 14.6 points per game with senior Sarah Zimmerman adding 13 per game, sophomore Megan Zimmerman contributes close to ten and sophomore Elizabeth Zimmerman scores 8.2.
New Knoxville makes their way from Northwest Ohio for the second time in school history, their first trip since a state runner-up appearance in 2007. Ellie Gabel is a 5’6 senior guard who is key to the team running on all cylinders as the floor leader. Another pair of seniors to watch include Avery Henschen, a 5’10 senior and Carsyn Henschen, a 6’1 senior. Haley Fledderjohann is another key senior who gives this team a lot of experience.
Waterford is no stranger to the Final Four, making their sixth appearance which includes a championship in 2016 and runner-up finishes in both 2015 and 2017. Cara Taylor is a 5’3 senior who was honored by the Southeast District on their first-team and averages 11.6 points per game. Freshman Avery Wagner is 6’4 and also was named to the all-district team.
New Washington Buckeye Central is another team with a rich tradition and has made six previous appearances in the Final Four, with most of them coming in the 1980s. They won the state championship in 1985 with two other runner-up finishes. They are highlighted by a pair of seniors Emily Siesel, a 5’7 point guard who runs the offense along with 5’8 guard Claudia Pifher.

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