Canton McKinley senior Kierstan Bell, a two-time Ms. Basketball winner — and favored to win a third — will lead the Bulldogs (24-1) into Tuesday’s Division I regional semifinal vs. Avon Lake (22-3) at 8 p.m. at Norwalk High School.
The 6:15 p.m. game at NHS will feature Medina vs. Saturday’s Toledo Notre Dame-Sylvania Southview district title game winner. The two winners from Tuesday’s regional semifinals will come back to Norwalk at 12 p.m. Saturday (March 9) to play for a trip to the state semifinals.
Bell is an Ohio State recruit and one of the best scorers in the history of Ohio girls basketball. She will enter Tuesday’s game with a chance to move into fourth all-time in Ohio history for career points. Bell has 2,789 points, which is just 10 points behind Semeka Randall (Garfield Heights Trinity, 1993-97) on the OHSAA career scoring list.
The 6-foot-1 Bell, who is ranked No. 5 nationally among seniors by ESPN.com and No. 1 at guard, is averaging 27.4 points per game this season. Those numbers are one year removed from when she averaged 33.3 points and 9.6 rebounds in 2017-18.
Bell chose Ohio State over offers from dozens of elite programs, including UCLA, North Carolina, South Carolina, Minnesota and Rutgers. She was the only sophomore winner of Ms. Basketball, edging out Norwalk’s Jiselle Thomas for the award in the 2016-17 season.
Bell is expected to match LeBron James as the only boys or girls player in Ohio history to win Mr./Ms. Basketball three times, which James did from 2001-03 at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. The annual award started in the 1987-88 season.