October 29, 2015
Gainesville, FL – The Santa Fe men's basketball team will open things up on October 30 in the Santa Fe Gym, during the second annual Dunkoween event, battling Game on Rise Academy, from Marion County, at 4:00 PM, and the women will host IMG Academy at 6:00 PM. SF students will have an opportunity to win gift cards during half time costume contests, and student organizations with the most members in costume will receive $100. There will also be a tailgate with free food and games at 2:30 PM in front of the gym.
Coach Chris Mowry and the men return just one player from last year's team, but that hasn't stopped the Saints from setting their goals on a Mid-Florida Conference championship and a spot in the FCSAA State Tournament. Ty Birts is back as the lone returner after a solid freshman season, but will relied upon heavily this year on both ends of the court after being more of a role player a year ago.
Joining Birts is a recruiting class that includes three sophomore transfers with college experience, eight freshman, and two redshirt freshman. Coach Mowry expects the three sophomore transfers to have a big impact and help bring along the freshman who lack collegiate game experience. Leo Edwards, a transfer from Louisiana Tech University brings size at the post position, but can also run the floor and shoot jumpers. LaBrian Shiflet played last season for Salt Lake CC and is extremely athletic, can shoot the three, and will be expected to put points on the board for the Saints. Alex Brown, a transfer from the University of Louisiana Monroe, brings ball handling, defense, and scoring ability to the 2015-16 Saints.
"Our team is looking forward to the start of the season this weekend," said Mowry. "We have been working hard in practice to develop our skills and a positive team chemistry. The 2015-16 Saints have 11 new players suiting up, and just four returners, only one of whom played last year. I really like our team, and as we continue to improve in practice, I believe we have the talent to compete with every team in the state. It should be a fun and exciting season!"
The women's team will follow up the men and play at 6:00 PM against the always tough IMG Academy post grad team.
Coach Chanda Stebbins returns three players from last year's team and will look to improve with the addition of 10 freshman, and the return of Desi'Rai Shaw, who sat out last season with an injury after playing in 2013-14. Bri Roberts, last year's leading scorer Sonya Franklin, and Tanesha Campbell return to give the Saints a veteran presence.
Coach Chanda Stebbins expects the freshman class to make an immediate impact, led by forward Evelina Avleeva (Yekaterinburg, Russia / The Rock School), guard Corey Staples (Buford, GA/Buford), Ari Emanuel-Wright (Jacksonville / Paxon Advanced Studies), and Rayven Wade (Jacksonville, FL / Paxon Advanced Studies). The entire recruiting class will be expected to contribute to a team that has set its sights on a Mid-Florida Conference championship and a run through the FCSAA State Tournament.
The Saints won't be at a disadvantage in the size depart as they boast six players 6'0" or bigger, including 6'5" Tabitha Odabe (Abuje, Nigeria / The Rock School).
"We are excited to start the season," said Stebbins. "It has been a long off season and we are looking forward to playing against someone besides ourselves. I am hoping this team will be fun to watch, they have been fun to coach so far and really learn very quickly."
For complete schedules, stats, and more information please visit www.santafesaints.com.