CARY — There were two big events taking place at Carys Charles H. Adams Gymnasium, but Imps girls basketball coach Patrick Daly gave more mention to what was going on off the 84 feet of hardwood.
Cary got a much-needed 51-41 win against visiting Fuquay-Varina, but it was also Carys first Play 4Kay game, where proceeds go to the Kay Yow Fund for breast cancer research. Yow, the late N.C. State coach who battled breast cancer three times during her standout coaching career, was a Cary resident for many of those years.
Out of bounds: Outside the gym, there was a display table of Play 4Kay T-shirts, shorts, socks and other gear that could be purchased with all proceeds going toward breast cancer research and awareness.
Daly, a first-year coach, brought the event with him to Cary after his last coaching stop at Athens Drive with the help of senior Imp Natalie Sherwood. Natalie Sherwood was inspired to play a major role in the event because her mother, Vicki Sherwood was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2012.
She really inspired me to do it because I wanted to support her in some way and give back to the community, Natalie said. Shes helped me a lot through the process... She helped contact Play 4Kay. I designed the T-shirts and I got with coach Daly.
Turning point: The Bengals (2-16, 2-10) decided to slow down the pace of the game, emphasizing half-court execution. This strategy proved to be effective for them, as they took a 27-26 lead on a putback from Lakeia Jones at the end of the third quarter.
But Carys switch from zone defense to man-to-man helped re-energize the Imps in the fourth, Daly said, as Cary never trailed after tying the game at 30 apiece.
Putting up numbers: Whitney Coleman, a senior signed to play at UNC-Greensboro next year, registered a double-double by halftime and finished the contest with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Junior Azura Stevens, after not registering a point in the three previous quarters, scored 15 points, nine of which came from the charity stripe. She also grabbed eight rebounds and handled some of the Imps ball handling responsibilities.
Fuquays Camille Baker had 18 points in the loss while Jones added 11.
Going forward: Azura is obviously a game changer, Daly said, and theres little to disprove that statement. Theres a lot of things she can do on the floor for us and its nice for us to have her out there.
Stevens, ranked the fourth-best junior post player in the country by ESPN, was undefeated through three games back from her leg injury that forced her to miss the first 18 games of the year.
The Imps (8-13, 5-7) could do more than disrupt the Tri-9 Conference playoff picture, they might break into it. However, Cary will end its season against three of the teams currently in the leagues top five Green Hope, Athens Drive and Panther Creek.