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OHIO BOYS BASKETBALL Mayo will answer the bell for championship


Published: Sat, March 25, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


Canton McKinley will try to become only the sixth big-school team to win back-to-back titles.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
CINCINNATI -- O.J. Mayo, one of the most acclaimed high school basketball players in the country, will rejoin his team for today's state Division III championship game after being banned from Thursday's semifinals.
Cincinnati North College Hill Principal Kelly Hughes said she met with Mayo after school Friday and told him he could travel with the team Friday evening to Columbus. Hughes barred Mayo from accompanying the team to Thursday's semifinals. She said it involved a school matter, but she refused to give details, citing privacy issues.
"It went very well," she said of their meeting Friday. "Obviously, he's excited he will be able to travel with the team and participate in the game."
Mayo's legal guardian, Dwaine Barnes, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Mayo was disciplined for missing a class at school earlier Thursday.
"He missed his third-bell class," Barnes said Friday. "I agree with the school's decision to hold him out. He has to understand he has to follow school rules ... he just made a poor decision. He learned from it, and he apologized to the team."
North College Hill (25-1), seeking its second straight state championship, plays Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph (21-5).
Canton McKinley 69, Tol. St. John's 51
COLUMBUS -- The lesson that 23 previous teams learned was revealed in the third quarter of the Division I state semifinals: Canton McKinley can score in a hurry.
Led by the 1-2 punch of player of the year 6-foot-8 Raymar Morgan and his 6-6 running mate, Ricky Jackson, the top-ranked defending champions turned it on in the second half to speed past Toledo St. John's.
Both Morgan, a Michigan State recruit, and Jackson battled foul trouble but ended up putting together big games.
Morgan had 22 points, six rebounds and two assists and Jackson ended up with 18 points, seven rebounds and one assist.
McKinley (24-2) will try to become only the sixth big-school team to win back-to-back titles in tonight's championship game at Value City Arena.
Andrew Taylor led St. John's (21-6) with 24 points. No other Titan had more than eight.
The Bulldogs are the most decorated basketball program in Ohio, with 45 district titles and a record 28 trips to the state tournament. Yet they've won "only" two titles, in 1984 and last year.
Trotwood-Madison 54, Lancaster 50
The first time's a charm so far for Trotwood-Madison.
Patric Hill hit four free throws to keep the wilting Rams ahead in the final minute and Armond Darby made two foul shots with 2.1 seconds left to lift Trotwood-Madison.
The Rams (22-5) were making their first trip to the state tournament. Ibrahim Marone led Trotwood-Madison with 18 points and 10 rebounds but it was the guards who carried the day after the Rams almost blew the 13-point lead they held with 6 1/2 minutes left.
Chris McKnight, a first-team All-Ohioan, had 18 points for No. 3 Lancaster (25-2), with his brother Brett McKnight adding 13 points and 6-foot-10 Brant Leitnaker chipping in with 10 points. The Golden Gales lost in the semifinals in 1996 and 1991 in their only previous appearances at the state tournament.
Dayton Dunbar 74,Akron SVSM 48
Early in the fourth quarter, as Dayton Dunbar's lead reached 20 points against No. 1-ranked Akron St. Vincent St. Mary, Dunbar's student section began a taunting chant: "Put LeBron in! Put LeBron in!"
SVSM graduate LeBron James wasn't available to save the day, however, as Dunbar followed the lead of Ohio State-bound Daequan Cook to beat the Fighting Irish in a Division II state semifinal at Value City Arena.
The Wolverines (25-2), rated No. 3 in the final regular-season Associated Press poll, will meet No. 4 Wooster Triway (26-0) in today's title game.
Wooster Triway 58, Cols. DeSales 56
Triway almost waited too long.
The Titans, struggling with their shooting all day, hit several pressure-packed shots down the stretch and made a big defensive stop in the final seconds.
First-team All-Ohioan Linc Rottman scored 22 points to lead Triway, which lost in the finals a year ago to Upper Sandusky. Jeff McCartney added 14 points for the Titans, ranked fourth in the final poll.
Alex Kellogg, son of Ohio prep player and former Ohio State and NBA star Clark Kellogg, scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds for DeSales (19-7).


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