The DeSales High School boys basketball team will play Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in a Division I state semifinal at 2 p.m. Friday at Ohio State.

The DeSales High School boys basketball team will play Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in a Division I state semifinal at 2 p.m. Friday at Ohio State.

For the Stallions, it is their third trip to a state semifinal in four years. For the Irish, it is their first since 2006. DeSales has three players who were on the team that last advanced to state two years ago, losing to Dayton Dunbar 56-43 in a state semifinal. St. Vincent-St. Mary starts three sophomores and has no one with experience at the state level.

The experience factor looms large in this one, St. Vincent-St. Mary coach Dru Joyce said.

"It speaks volumes in the sense that (the DeSales players are) able to share that experience with their teammates, their getting there and that experience of losing," said Joyce, whose team defeated Hunting Valley University School 64-54 last Saturday in a regional final in Canton to improve to 21-4.

"It's significant. Is it going to intimidate us beyond our ability to play? No, I won't let that happen, but it is significant to not get caught up in the bright lights, which isn't so easy for young kids."

St. Vincent-St. Mary plays a four-out, one-in offense led by 6-foot-6 senior forward Daylen Harrison, who scored 18 points and had nine rebounds last Saturday. The Irish will use Harrison in all positions but point guard, where sophomore Rickey Johnson starts.

Ike Ariguzo, who has dominated on the boards in the postseason for the Stallions, getting 15 rebounds in a 52-40 win over Buckeye Valley in a district semifinal March 6 and 15 more in a 66-45 win over Elida in a regional semifinal March 19, will be challenged by the Irish's Jakarr Sampson, a 6-8 sophomore forward who earns his playing time with his defense and athleticism. He's often the "one-in" on the offense and he had 13 points last Saturday.

Other starters for the Irish are senior Mike Hammonds (6-0) and sophomore Davonte` Beard (6-1).

Coach Blair Albright, whose team beat Vermillion 84-64 in a regional final last Saturday to improve to 22-3, said the difference between playing St. Vincent-St. Mary and other teams he has had to plan for in the postseason is that every player is dangerous on offense.

"In certain situations this year we've played teams that have had a limited number of scorers," Albright said. "Any number of these guys can score."

The Stallions, who also lost in a state semifinal in 2006 to Wooster Triway 58-56, last won a state championship in 1987.

The winner Friday will play in a state semifinal at 5:15 p.m. Saturday at Ohio State against Dayton Thurgood Marshall or Logan Elm.

Thurgood Marshall defeated Watterson 44-42 last Saturday in a regional final at Xavier to improve to 21-4. The Cougars are led by 6-4 guard Greg Gainey and 6-0 point guard Juwan Staten, both of whom are nursing injuries. Gainey, who scored 18 points against Watterson, had a sprained ankle that caused him to miss school for treatment last Monday and Staten is expected to play through a sprained thumb. Other key players for the Cougars are shooting guard Shawn Robinson (5-9) and DeAngelo Gates (6-1), a wing player who is in his first year of organized basketball.

Thurgood Marshall will play Logan Elm in a state semifinal at 10:45 a.m. Friday at Ohio State.

Logan Elm earned its first trip to the state tournament with a 53-39 win over Cambridge in a regional final last Saturday at Ohio University. Logan Elm, which is 24-1, is led by guards Tim Congrove and Brandon Amann.

Congrove, a 6-0 guard, has committed to Walsh and Amann, a guard, has made 226 3-pointers in his career. Both are strong outside shooters, coach Doug Stiverson said, and inside the Braves will look to 6-7 center Logan Hauserman. Guard Adam Blake (6-0) also will play a key role as a shooter. Congrove had 19 points last Saturday, including five 3-pointers, and Amann had 14.