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Week’s Elite: Stevens breaks through for honor

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South Jefferson girls basketball player Austin Stevens used three consistent performances to finally earn the Times Week’s Elite award with 31 percent of the vote.

Stevens, a 5-foot-9 senior guard who had been nominated twice before, edged out South Lewis basketball player Jason Martin (29 percent) and Carthage basketball player Andrew Smith (16 percent) in the closest vote since the start of the award. Stevens registered 14 points in the Spartans’ 85-36 win over Beaver River on Feb. 1. She then scored 16 points and 18 points in wins over Lowville and Carthage on Feb. 3 and last Tuesday, respectively.

The LeMoyne College-bound Stevens is averaging 16.3 points per game and has scored double figures in all but one game this season. Stevens said coach Pat Bassett has helped her and the team get through this stretch of the season, which included a span of five games over six days from Jan. 30 through last Tuesday.

“It’s tough having so many games,” said Stevens, a two-time Times All-North Frontier League pick. “But coach keeps us prepared and ready for games.”

Stevens said that Bassett has the same game plan in place, but with minor tweaks the second time around.

The yearly expectation is for the Spartans to make a deep run into the Section 3 tournament and possibly state playoffs. Stevens has a much simpler approach to getting through it.

“(Game preparation) keeps the nerves down,” Stevens said.

Week’s Elite vote totals: Austin Stevens, South Jefferson, 31 votes; Jason Martin, South Lewis, 29; Andrew Smith, Carthage. 16; Kammika Barnes, Indian River, 15 votes; Anna Bush, Beaver River, 8.

This is the last Week’s Elite poll of the winter sports season. The poll will return in the spring.

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