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Wait is finally over for Fighting Tigers

COLUMBUS - The time has arrived.

Tip-off for the Division III state tournament will be at 2 p.m. today as the Ironton Fighting Tigers face the Archbold Blue Streaks in the second semifinal game.

North College Hill, ranked No. 1 in Ohio and No. 23 in the latest USA Today poll, will meet last year's state qualifier Loudonville in the first game at 10:45 a.m.

Ironton, unbeaten in the regular season for the first time in school history, is making its second state tournament appearance. The first trip was during the 1993-94 season when the Fighting Tigers lost 65-62 to Wauseon.

Archbold, 24-1, is a member of the same league as Wauseon. The Blue Streaks reached the state tournament in 2003 and the only returning starter from that team is senior guard Dan Borcherdt who averages 23 points a game.

North College Hill is the odds-on favorite to win the state title. Only 2-18 two years ago, the influx of O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker from Huntington, W.Va., last season and the addition of 6-foot-11, 195-pound Keenan Ellis this year from Indianapolis have made the Trojans a formidable team.

Mayo, a 6-5 guard and forward, averages 28.9 points a game and was named Mr. Basketball on Wednesday. Mayo is only the second sophomore to win the honor along with LeBron James on Akron St.-Vincent-St. Mary's Memorial.

Mayo, Walker and Ellis all play AAU summer basketball together.

Here are the results from Thursday's first round games:

Thursday's Results

State Semifinals

DIVISION II

Upper Sandusky 95, Dayton Dunbar 90

Wooster Triway 71, Cols. Linden-McKinley 70

DIVISION IV

Cle. Hts. Lutheran E. 86, Minster 84, 2OT

Cols. Africentric 61, Continental 45