Mayo got off to a slow start with a scoreless first quarter. But then he got it going. Mayo finished with 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting and added nine rebounds and four assists in NCH's 75-42 rout of Loudonville.
NCH advances to face the winner of Friday's other semifinal between Ironton and Archbold in Saturday's 5:15 p.m. state title game.
Mayo had 21 points in the win
"It was a great atmosphere here today," said Mayo, who enjoyed playing before the crowd of 14,631 at VCA. "I think in the first half, we played a slow pace and we may have been kind of nervous. But we handled it well. In the second half, we played our game."
Mayo let the game come to him in the first quarter.
"We worked all week and we knew they would come out in a triangle-and-two or a box-and-one," he said. "I was focused on getting other people involved."
Mayo relied on his teammates and they came through. Bill Walker, also a sophomore standout, had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore center Keenan Ellis had eight points and five rebounds before fouling out. Freshman point guard Damon Butler also hit a pair of early three-point shots.
NCH coach Jamie Mahaffey talked about what sets Mayo – as well as Walker – apart.
"They are both humble kids," he said. "They have appreciated all the awards they've gotten, but they have the team goal of a state championship. It shows in how they play the game. O.J. had seven assists and nine rebounds. He does what is best for the team. Bill had 11 rebounds."
Mayo plays on the wing at NCH. But he knows he can be a special player at the college or pro level if he develops his point guard skills.
"As a high school kid, I'm able to get away with playing the two or three," he said. "At the next level, I may have to play point guard. I think I bring leadership and I try to be a general on the floor and get everybody involved.
"We are focused on the state championship. We have two seniors who are important to our program. We want to win our school's first state championship.
"Hopefully we can build a dynasty. Our goal is to win three state championships. But we know we can't start that goal until we win the first one, and the first one is usually the hardest one."
Much has been discussed about Mayo's desire to opt for the NBA after his high school career. But Mayo said college basketball could still be a possibility. He discussed his future plans.
"I usually list conferences," Mayo said. "I say the ACC, the Big East and the Big 12. I'm looking at that area to stay close to home."
Mayo was asked whether Ohio State and/or Cincinnati were in his sights.
"Staying close to home is important," Mayo said. "By home, I mean the West Virginia area. That's where my mom is. She's in southern Ohio. I want her to be able to come and watch me play. But definitely Ohio State and Cincinnati would be on my list."
Mayo was asked about what he saw with OSU under Thad Matta this year.
"Coach Matta is a good coach," he said. "I watched the Illinois game. I was going to come up, but we were preparing for a game the next day. He does a great job with his team."
He also scoffed at notions that he would be compared to former Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary star LeBron James.
"I'm not LeBron," he said, humbly. "You saw that today."
* Loudonville's Kyle Gillette had 27 points and 19 rebounds.
* As NCH was able to turn up the heat and get into the open court, Walker's abilities came to the forefront.
He unleashed the best array of dunks seen this side of a slam dunk contest.
He had a two-hand flush off a steal in the backcourt, a jam off a pass off the backboard from Mayo, a breakaway one-hand jam, a one-hand flush off a nice feed from Butler, a one-handed jam after he fielded a rebound in the lane and went back up and, finally, a nice baseline drive and reverse one-handed jam.
Sophomore Keenan Ellis, who is also a highly-rated prospect, had eight points
Mayo speaks with the media after the game