Holiday Invitational

Stevens breaks rebounding mark, Cary downs Dudley for 5th

Posted December 28, 2013

Cary's Azura Stevens (23) takes a jump shot during play at the final day of the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational held at Cary Academy in Cary, N.C. between the Cary Imps and the Dudley Panthers on December 28, 2013.  Cary won 42-35.  Photo by Wes Hight.

Thanks in part to a record-setting afternoon by senior center Azura Stevens, the Cary Imps downed Greensboro Dudley 42-35 Saturday afternoon to secure fifth place in the Mix 101.5 Girls Bracket in the 2013 HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational.

Up by one at the break, Cary extended its lead in the final minute of the third quarter despite Stevens being on the bench for a quick breather. The four-point swing gave the Imps a 29-23 edge headed into the fourth, when Stevens scored nine of the team's 13 points to secure the win. 

One day after breaking the Mix 101.5 Bracket individual game rebounding mark against Hillside, Stevens, a Duke signee, broke her own record by pulling down 28 rebounds against the Panthers. 

She also scored 26 points and blocked 7 shots, trying the Mix 101.5 Girls Bracket single-mark for blocks.  

Stevens' three-day total of 79 rebounds shattered the old record of 52, which was set in 2010 by Cary Christian's Dakota Dukes. She also broke the tournament record for field goals made with 33.

Cary head coach Patrick Daly was quick to mention Stevens' impact following the game, but he also said that the play of the rest of his squad was what allowed the Imps to get the win. 

"Azura is a talented, gifted player, but we're a team. It was big for other girls to get a chance to step up," Daly said. "We're trying to get other girls involved and take some of the pressure off of Azura. Azura is team-focused. She wants to get others involved. She's not out there for stats, and that's what makes her so special."

Stevens also deflected the attention her records brought postgame, saying she was happy to pass to her teammates when Dudley's defense collapsed on her. 

"It was a physical game, but I'm used to having someone follow me around or an entire zone collapse on me," she said. "It doesn't really work."

One player, junior forward Brooks Anthony-Robinson, took advantage of several chances in the post as Dudley focused on Stevens. She finished with 6 points and 4 rebounds, scoring twice while Stevens was on the bench late in the third and early in the fourth quarter.

Daly said situations like those will help his team later in the season. 

"The level of competition here is high," he said. "We're going to take a lot from this as far as handling pressure and dealing with time and score situations. We want to build off of it."

Essence Abraham led Dudley with 11 points and 7 steals, and Kiara Harrison added 9 points and 6 rebounds.

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