DAYTON, Ohio — Purcell Marian High School girls basketball coach Jamar Mosley jokingly admitted he forgot to wash the game jerseys before Thursday's Division II state semifinal.
"It was a rookie mistake on my end," Mosley said with a smile.
All kidding aside, one thing was clear early Thursday afternoon: This is not a Purcell Marian rookie team.
Sophomore Dee Alexander, named Ohio Ms. Basketball Wednesday afternoon, scored a game-high 34 points to lead Purcell Marian past Bryan 61-47 to advance to its second straight state final. Alexander added eight rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocks. Freshman McKenzie Jones added seven points.
"I knew I had to step up," Alexander said. "I know this is a big game for us. Just overall the whole season was big for us. So it was just me stepping up and giving my team the ball as much as I possibly could and getting to the basket."
The Cavaliers, winners of 16 consecutive games, persevered through a double-digit deficit at University of Dayton Arena. Purcell Marian (26-2) advances to play Canal Fulton Northwest (27-2) in the Division II state final at 10:45 a.m. Saturday. Northwest defeated Proctorville Fairland 56-34 in the second state semifinal Thursday afternoon.
Purcell Marian is playing for its second straight state championship after winning the Division III title in 2022.
It wasn't easy at times Thursday for Purcell Marian during the 11 a.m. tipoff. The Cavaliers trailed by 11 with 5:06 left in the second quarter. Purcell Marian went on a 12-0 run to end the first half.
"I'm just proud of our girls as they persevered," Mosley said. "We got down by (12 points) in the second quarter and the girls just fought back and took the lead going into halftime."
Purcell Marian, which is appearing in its third consecutive state Final Four, opened a 10-2 run in the third quarter and never looked back.
Purcell Marian coach Jamar Mosley admitted he forgot to wash the jerseys before today’s state semifinal. I asked Dee Alexander if she felt tired at the end of the game. Alexander had 34 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocks. Alexander played nearly 32 minutes. pic.twitter.com/8i6VmJ6sa8— Mike Dyer (@MikeDyer) March 9, 2023