It was my very first opportunity to see O.J. Mayo in person and needless to say I wasn't disappointed. I can remember not being disappointed when I saw LeBron James for the first time either. He was just a sophomore at the time as well.
I was also impressed to see his two main sidekicks for the first time. Sophomore Bill Walker was averaging 20.8 points a game coming into the tournament.
Sophomore Keenan Ellis was averaging just 14 ppg but he had decent skills with the ball and was able to run the floor really well.
But O.J. Mayo was the main man and he certainly looked the part. He was averaging 27.4 ppg coming into the state tournament.
He handled the ball really well...
...and was a good floor leader in general.
And he could raise up and stroke it as well. Mayo hit for 21 points on 10-15 shooting from the floor and added 9 rebounds and 7 assists in helping his team beat Loudonville 75-42 and advance to the finals.
Walker added 15 points on 7-12 from the field and had 11 boards to go with it.
Ellis had 8 points on 4-9 from the floor with 5 rebounds and 6 block shots.
Freshman point guard Damon Butler looks like he'll be a quality player in the near future. He had 7 points and 7 assists in the semifinal game.
Senior guard Darion Goins was the other starter and he had 9 points in that game.
But Mayo was a treat to watch! His team overall is much better than LeBron's team when he was a sophomore.
How difficult a task it must have been for senior Matt Rooks, #30, to have to guard Mayo most of the game.
Senior Trevor Scott, #11, had to follow Walker around all game and only scored 9 points, on 3-17 from the floor - 3 of 9 from beyond the arc,on the offensive end. Scott was averaging 18.3 a game going into the tournament.
But the big man for Loudonville, 6'8" senior Kyle Gillette had a huge game with 27 points on 10-18 from the field and he pulled down 19 rebounds in his final high school game. He was terrific!
Of course Mayo led his team to the state championship the next day with a victory over a previously unbeaten Ironton team.
North College Hill head coach Jamie Mahaffey
And Mayo handled the media quiet well also.
Ironton took on Archbold in the other semifinal and the Fighting Tigers were led by junior Dennis Gagai's 23 points, on 7-16 from the floor and 5-10 from 3-pt. land, in their victory over the Bluestreaks, 70-66.
Gagai was averaging 17.5 ppg coming in to the state tourney to lead Ironton in scoring.
But junior Brigham Waginger was the straw that stirred the drink for the organge and white. Continuously making one big play after another on both ends of the court.
Waginger was averaging 15.8 points per game going into the weekend tournament.
Waginger had an enormous game in the semifinal with 14 points on 7-16 from the floor, with 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 8 steals.
Cliffton Howard added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Chad Miller chipped in 10 points as well for Ironton.
The Ironton cheerleaders had a lot to cheer about.
And so did their fans.
Ironton head coach Roger Zornes
For Archbold, junior Dave Borcherdt had 20 points on 7-14 from the floor and 4-8 from behind the arc.
Senior Dan Borcherdt, #14 on defense, was held to 15 points on 5-14 shooting and 4-10 from 3-pt. land. He was averaging 23 ppg coming into the tournament.
Freshman Gene Goering, defending Waginger on this play, had 12 points, 4-6 from the field, and 9 rebounds in the loss.
And senior Kirk Weldy, #22 in the forefront, had 11 points in the contest on 5-8 from the floor in his last game.
The Archbold cheerleaders and fans hung tough until the end.
Archbold head coach Doug Krauss