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Published: Saturday, 3/25/2006

Mayo to play in D-III state final


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 semifinal victory over Archbold.

Cincinnati North College Hill principal Kelly Hughes said she met with Mayo after school yesterday and told him he could travel with the team to Columbus and play today.

Hughes on Thursday 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 yesterday. "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 yesterday. "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).

Mayo, a 6-foot-5 junior who averages 28.8 points per game, won the Associated Press Mr. Basketball award in Ohio for the second straight year.

Mayo and teammate Bill Walker, a 6-6 junior, lead the Trojans, widely regarded as one of the best high school teams in the country.

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