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Imps eliminate Buccaneers in second round of playoffs

Laney's Daisha Jordan passes the ball during a second-round girls state tournament game against Cary on Wednesday night. (Photo by Paul Stephen)

For the second consecutive game, the Cary girls basketball was led to victory by two players.

Six-foot-five sophomore Azura Stevens scored 18 points and Whitney Coleman chipped in with 11, including the game-winning putback with .4 seconds to play, to lead the Imps past Laney 29-27 Wednesday night in the second round of the 4A playoffs.

In Monday's 51-47 win over East Wake, Stevens scored 31 and Coleman added 20.

Stevens was the difference Wednesday. With UNCW head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and assistant Jimmy Garrity in the stands watching, the sophomore put on quite a performance. She completely took away Laney's ability to score inside. When the Buccaneers tried to get in the paint, Stevens swatted the shots away. She finished with 11 blocked shots.

"She took away the points that we normally get from the inside," Laney coach Sherri Tynes said. "They were giving us the mid-range jump shots and we had looks from the outside and we hit a few, but we didn't hit enough."

The Bucs shot 23 percent (12 of 52) from the field.

Despite the offensive struggles, Laney (20-5) never stopped fighting. A steal and score with 12 seconds to play looked like it was going to send the game into overtime.

Trailing 27-25, the Bucs elected not to foul and instead went for a steal. Chelsea Godette converted the fastbreak layup to tie the game.

Cary (15-9) took a timeout and was able to get the ball into Stevens' hands. She went the length of the court, missed a layup, but Coleman was right there for the putback.

"When they picked us up fullcourt I thought that played right into our hands," Cary coach Donald Kent said. "I told Whitney and Azura whichever one of them got it not to pass it to anybody.

"I told them to put the ball on the floor and go all the way to the rim. Azura got to the rim, but she missed it and Whitney was there to follow it up. That's exactly what we wanted."

Laney tried a desperation halfcourt pass, but it was tipped and the horn sounded.