Note to Media: The 2022 Ohio Ms. Basketball Award will be presented to Mount Notre Dame High School senior KK Bransford today at 2:45 in a ceremony at the school. Media should arrive by 2:25 to avoid school traffic. Mount Notre Dame is located at 711 East Columbia Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45215. A photo of KK Bransford is included below for media use (credit OHSAA).
Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association – News Release
For Immediate Release – March 23, 2022
Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame’s KK Bransford Repeats as Ohio Ms. Basketball
Notre Dame commit helped lead MND to 98-consecutive wins and two state championships
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame High School senior KK Bransford was announced as Ohio’s Ms. Basketball Wednesday by a statewide media panel.
Now in its 35th 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.
Reynoldsburg senior Imarianah Russell was runner-up. Finalists included Akron Archbishop Hoban senior Lane Riley, Olmsted Falls junior Paige Kohler, New Philadelphia senior Ajia Schreffler and Bloomdale Elmwood senior Brooklyn Thrash.
Bransford, a McDonald's All-American, averaged 21.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.5 steals this past season for the Cougars (26-1), a Division I regional finalist. Bransford helped lead Mount Notre Dame to a 98-game win streak – the second-longest consecutive win streak in Ohio high school girls basketball history. During the winning streak, MND won the 2019 state championship, entered the 2020 state tournament undefeated before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then won the 2021 state championship.
KK Bransford Named Ohio’s Ms. Basketball For 2022
By Mike Dyer, Cincinnati WCPO-TV
READING, Ohio – There may be a day in the future when KK Bransford is the journalist asking the questions for a story. But, that time hasn't arrived just yet.
The Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame High School senior combo guard is familiar with the media spotlight as one of the most accomplished high school basketball players who has ever competed in Greater Cincinnati.
On Wednesday morning, that spotlight grew brighter as Bransford was named Ohio Ms. Basketball for a second straight season by a statewide media panel.
The University of Notre Dame signee is the sixth individual to win the prestigious statewide award at least twice since the top girls basketball honor started in 1988.
"We had such a great season," said Bransford, who plans to study journalism in South Bend. "So to be able to have that again, have the Ms. Basketball award - I was super excited. I can only thank God for it because I went through all four of my years. I played every single game with no injuries which is super special."
Now in its 35th 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.
Reynoldsburg senior Imarianah Russell was runner-up. Finalists included Akron Archbishop Hoban senior Lanae Riley, Olmsted Falls junior Paige Kohler, New Philadelphia senior Ajia Schreffler and Bloomdale Elmwood senior Brooklyn Thrash.
Bransford, MND's all-time leading scorer with 2,172 career points, is the school's third player to receive the Ms. Basketball honor joining Kendall Hackney (2009) and Mel Thomas (2004).
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).
Bransford's basketball legacy is firmly cemented at the Girls Greater Catholic League school in suburban Cincinnati.
"What I've taken the most pride in is just being able to be versatile," Bransford said. "Something that we said before every game, during every practice is 'unbreakable.' Being unbreakable on the court. Whether any kind of adversity comes toward us and toward me is to be unbreakable. And I want to take that to college and have that just be a characteristic of mine."
The McDonald's All-American averaged 21.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.5 steals this past season for the Cougars (26-1), a Division I regional finalist. Bransford helped to lead MND to a 98-game win streak - the second-most amount of consecutive wins in Ohio high school girls basketball history.
By the time the win streak - which started Jan. 17, 2019 - was snapped earlier this month in the regional final, MND was just 10 victories behind the state record held by Millersburg West Holmes (1983-1987).MND's win streak included three consecutive trips to the state Final Four including two state titles in 2019 and 2021.
The Cougars were undefeated (28-0) entering the 2020 state Final Four before the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A month later, MND was ranked No. 1 nationally by a national media website.
MND coach Dr. Scott Rogers said the win streak was a collective effort but it wouldn't have been possible without Bransford.
"If you just look at the body of her work here in the four years - when you think about it - it's mind-boggling," Rogers said."I'm not one that ever talked about the streak that we had. Other than our goal is to win a state championship every year. To be able to go there three consecutive years and have a chance to go there again this past season - I think that will be her legacy."
Like so many well-known student-athletes who've graduated from MND, Bransford's impact goes beyond lofty basketball statistics.
"She's friends with so many girls in the school," MND senior power forward Abby Wolterman said. "And she just talks to all the adults, all the teachers. So I think she will just be remembered for the person she is outside of basketball as well."
Bransford's leadership and how she stayed humble while receiving many accolades had a significant impact on the team this past season.
"I'm just so proud of her," Wolterman said. "And honestly I feel really blessed to be able to play with her. I think she makes me better."
Past Ohio Ms. Basketball Ohio winners
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 (1): Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley (2017)
Co-winners (1): 1999 - Kaayla Chones, Eastlake North and LaToya Turner, Pickerington
All-Ohio Teams Announced
The Division III and IV girls basketball All-Ohio teams were announced Monday, followed by the Division I and II All-Ohio teams on Tuesday. The teams were 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
### OHSAA ###
Director of Media Relations
Ohio High School Athletic Association
Office: 614-267-2502, ext. 124
4080 Roselea Place
Columbus, OH 43214