In one sense, the Division I state boys basketball tournament will feature greybeards against upstarts.

In one sense, the Division I state boys basketball tournament will feature greybeards against upstarts.

The first of two semifinals will feature two teams that have made a combined 11 state tournament appearances, as Lakewood St. Edward High School is making its seventh trip to state and Toledo Whitmer will be making its fourth.

The other semifinal consists of Pickerington Central, which is making its first state appearance, and Fairfield, whose only other state appearance came in 1941.

Little wonder, then, that while the Tigers aren't exactly sure what to expect this week, they are ready to find out after defeating Canton McKinley 60-51 in a regional final on March 17 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum to capture their first regional championship.

"No," senior guard and Ohio University recruit Caris LeVert said when asked if he had any idea what to anticipate after he had 14 points against McKinley. "But I'm excited for it."

Central (24-2) plays Fairfield (21-5) in the second semifinal at 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 23, at Ohio State.

St. Edward (18-7) and Whitmer (23-2) will play at 5:15 p.m. The winners will play in the state championship at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Ohio State.

The only thing Tigers coach Jerry Francis might change about playing at state is having the tournament in St. John Arena, where he played for Ohio State from 1986-89, instead of the Schottenstein Center.

"But we'll take the Schott any day," Francis said. "It means a lot for our program. We've come a long way in a short time, but we can't rest on our laurels. We have to continue to work hard and just let the program continue to grow, stay humble in our approach and just keep being a working man's program."

That attitude is similar to the one adopted by Fairfield, which defeated Middletown 62-59 in overtime on March 16 to earn its state berth.

Senior guard Jeff Woods had a game-high 19 points, including going 5-for-6 from the foul line in overtime. Kyle Smith had 16 points and Brandon Murphy added 14 for the Indians, who did not trail for the final 30 minutes but never led by more than seven points.

Fairfield is the second Greater Miami Conference team to earn a state berth in four years, after Cincinnati Princeton in 2009.

"It was three years ago when we went into the cafeteria of our freshman building and (coach Tim Austing) said we were going to hang banners and cut down nets," Woods told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "We knew if we could do the hard work we could do anything. We knew we were good and we had talent, but when coach Austing came in he gave us the mentality that we had to work hard."

Murphy is averaging 10.9 points to lead Fairfield, followed by Smith (8.8).

Whitmer is making its first state tournament appearance since 2008. The Panthers are led by 6-foot-7 junior Nigel Hayes, a first-team all-Northwest District forward who averaged 13.8 points during the regular season and had 17 points and eight rebounds in a 51-39 win over Medina in a regional final March 17.

Hayes is averaging 13.3 points, followed by junior guard Ricardo Smith (12.1) and senior guard Leroy Alexander (9.5), a third-team all-district honoree.

St. Edward eased by Warren Harding 66-44 in a regional final March 17 to earn its first state appearance since 2008.

The Eagles are led by senior Myles Hamilton, a 6-1 guard and Kennesaw State signee who had 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals against Harding. Senior guard Mark Murray had 13 points, four rebounds and three assists, and senior point guard Mike Newton added 10 points and five assists.